NEW! MOBILE OUTREACH PROGRAM:
Street Outreach: Meeting People Where They Are

JAN. 21, 2014 ... Begun in the fall, the Guest House Mobile Outreach Program takes our services to at-risk people where they are—from “hot spots” of illicit activity to shelters for the homeless. “This is essentially preventive work,” says Megan Foster, Mobile Client Advocacy Coordinator. “We talk to people, provide referrals, hook them up with services. We give out water and condoms, and hot chocolate and scarves and gloves on cold nights. It’s very interactive. We’re checking in, we’re generally making people aware of the services available in the community.”

“The hope is to interact with people at points in time when they are ready to receive services, then get them into services — and as a result, prevent future interactions with the justice system.”

At present, there is little or no other mobile-outreach program—by any agency—in Northern Virginia, whereas mobile outreach is more common in D.C. and suburban Maryland.

The Mobile Outreach Program is in its pilot phase. We have been learning where we should go: what streets, hotels and even malls are hot spots for drug use and sex work? what drop-in shelters? We have surveyed people to ascertain what services they need. In December, the Ford Motor Company lent us a car for a week, enabling us to reach even more places. Guest House alumnae have worked alongside Megan and Outreach Specialist Shauna Creek, helping to identify “where people are” and relating more effectively as peers.

We hope to roll out the program soon. We will need a dedicated van, stocked with water, simple medical supplies and other essentials; two or three people (staff, alumnae, trained volunteers) will run the van at any given time; and at set times, three days and two nights a week, we will make the rounds. We are seeking funds for one year as well as the donation of a van. Megan notes that the lack of a van is “the biggest impediment at this point.”

“The hope,” says Megan, “is to interact with people at points in time when they are ready to receive services, then get them into services—and as a result, prevent future interactions with the justice system.”

 

 

 
 
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Friends of Guest House helps female ex-offenders in Northern Virginia make the difficult transition from incarceration back into the community.

Friends of Guest House, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) public charity: Federal tax ID #51-0201327. Gifts to Guest House are tax-deductible as provided by law.

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