Time spent at RIMS is always worthwhile. We are fortunate to enjoy many opportunities to connect with friends, clients, colleagues and other industry partners, and it has been a pleasure spending time in San Diego this year. However, in the midst of all the activity, I believe those of us at #RIMS2016 have become keenly aware of the homeless population around us in this city.
After some research, my eyes were opened to the realities of the homeless issue here. California accounted for nearly 21% of the nation’s homeless population in 2015 and San Diego's is the fourth largest homeless population among cities in the U.S. 48% of these individuals sleep on the streets. Last year, the total of homeless individuals here rose to 8,742 from 8,506 the prior year; it peaked at 10,013 in 2013. I learned all of these things through Alpha Project for the homeless, a San Diego organization empowering individuals, families and communities by providing work, recovery and support services to people who are motivated to change their lives and achieve self-sufficiency.
Today, we visited the Alpha Square facility and had an opportunity to meet with Bob McElroy, President and CEO of Alpha Project. After seeing the facility and understanding their model for sustainable housing can make a real difference for the homeless, I am excited Sedgwick has decided to pledge $10,000 to help the Alpha Square facility in its efforts to care for over 200 residents who are no longer homeless. Alpha Project's methodology is firmly entrenched in the idea that homeless individuals are an asset to the community when provided with opportunities rather than handouts. They offer affordable housing, residential substance abuse treatment, supportive housing for people with special needs, basic and emergency services for the homeless, transportation assistance, employment training, preparation and placement, education, outreach and prevention, and community services. Alpha Project strives not to manage homelessness, but rather to end it for its clients.
Alpha Project also supports individuals through mental health counseling; this aligns closely with Sedgwick’s focus on mental health and well-being, and we applaud the organization for working in such a proactive way to help individuals and families find appropriate care and resources. We know that one out of four people, or nearly 61 million Americans, suffer from mental illnesses, and we are committed to continuing the dialogue, finding ways to support individuals, helping them improve productivity and gain access to care, advocating for them in times of need, and reducing the inherent stigma attached to mental illness.
The people and organizations in our industry are known for their generosity. It has been incredible to see such continued and growing support for RIMS’ annual community service projects, as well as charitable initiatives through Kids Chance and the Spencer Educational Foundation. We were honored to sponsor and promote this year’s Spencer 5K Fun Run, which helped raise $50,000 for industry scholarship programs.
We encourage that giving spirit to spread even farther; join us in showing how caring counts℠ – pledge your own contributions to the Alpha Project at AlphaProject.org.
Jonathan Mast, Director Social Media, Sedgwick