Martin Alvarez, Program Director, Streets to Homes
Martin Alvarez is proud of the services provided by the Streets To Homes program. His pride is understandable. During the past year since the pandemic began, despite the challenges we all faced, the Streets To Homes program assisted 21 people as they moved from long-time homelessness to permanent housing. In addition, the program also managed the Project Roomkey program for Monterey County.
In mid-March 2020, many of our volunteers were no longer able to continue their service with us due to the Shelter-in-Place order. The loss of our volunteers affected each of our programs, especially Dorothy’s Kitchen Program and Dorothy’s Drop-In Center. It has been up to staff to fill in the gaps left by our esteemed and highly valued “essential” volunteers.
The loss of our volunteers has stretched the team at Dorothy’s Place and also presented an opportunity to improvise and continue our services, never missing a day of service. In the beginning, we received COVID-relief funding from Community Foundation for Monterey County to hire people that had been laid off of other jobs to fill in for our volunteers. That gave us time to adjust, but eventually, we had to figure out new and innovative ways to continue our service to the unsheltered.
Antonia Jardines, our AmeriCorps member serving with Dorothy’s Place this year, is responsible for recruiting and welcoming volunteers, and for managing the Volunteer Program.
Though this has been a tough year to be a volunteer coordinator, Antonia has continued her AmeriCorps service, some days remotely, some days on site, often assisting in the Kitchen. We are fortunate to have her as a member of our team. Antonia has an Associate Degree in Social Behavioral Science from Hartnell College. And during this pandemic year, while serving in AmeriCorps, she has continued working towards an Associate Degree in Psychology. She plans to transfer to California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) this fall to continue her studies in psychology.