Dwindling Resources and Lack of Electricity Impact People Experiencing Homelessness: HRTC Is there to help!
The 2020 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report to congress (pre-pandemic), reported a 2% increase in the homeless population of the US over the previous year and a 7% increase in people sleeping outdoors. While many urban areas have resources for people experiencing homelessness, they can be difficult to find without internet access and a charged mobile phone. This became increasingly problematic during COVID-19 shutdowns as public buildings like libraries and even coffee shops closed their doors, leaving people on the street with no access to electricity and dwindling resources.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Unite to Light provided over 3,000 of our Chandler Chargers to people experiencing homelessness across the US. These simple solar powered battery banks offered a piece of stability to those struggling with uncomfortable unknowns everyday. An integral part of this program was our distribution partners who are on the front lines helping people experiencing homelessness every day. One of those partners was the Harm Reduction Therapy Center (HRTC), established to bring therapeutic services to the San Francisco homeless population.
In addition to Julia, there was also Mark*, an HRTC client experiencing homelessness. He had applied for a job during the pandemic and had a phone, but struggled to keep his phone charged. HRTC gifted him a Charger and he was able to answer his phone when an employer called to offer him a position. Now he’s had consistent work, thanks to being reachable.
Every client had a similarly moving story and attested to the importance for themselves. Some even asked HRTC to help their friends! One client said, “You guys are rad to still come out here--all the food places are closed where I used to go. My therapist gave me a phone and charger last week when I was here so I could talk with her--do you think you have another for my friend? He needs his phone for work, but there isn’t any place to charge it right now, ‘cause everything's closed.”