With the weak economy and uncertainty about the future, stresses are high for many families here in the Coachella Valley.
“People are losing their jobs left and right and picking up side jobs,” says Shawn Johnson, Director of Safehouse of the Desert shelter. “That’s definitely one of the main topics in families.”
As tensions rise, young children and teens are affected. Now, more are turning to crisis centers, counseling, and shelters like Safehouse of the Desert.
“As the economy gets worse, situations at home increase,” says Johnson. “When the kids talk about it, that’s when you know it’s a stressor.”
Safehouse offers shelter, food, counseling, and clothing — all the necessities for those struggling. But as more people are in need, the shelter is too.
The non-profit organization relies on community donations, but they’re down.
A lack of resources makes it difficult to provide for the community but that’s not stopping volunteers. They’re taking matters into their own hands, finding ways to stretch every penny.
“I’m cutting the grass here. We have cut out our maintenance crew and cleaning crew,” says Johnson.
They’re getting creative in finding ways to reach those in need. For example, they are offering counseling over the phone for those who can’t afford the gas to drive in.
“We are trying to provide the same services with less resources so it’s tough,” says Johnson.
Volunteers are also holding workshops to touch as many lives as possible.
“It helps people through their problems and gives them someone to turn to who cares and loves,” says Talia Ronzana, volunteer at Safehouse of the Desert.
This is Safehouse’s goal, and, although funds are dwindling, the shelter will hold strong.
“We’re here and we are gonna be here,” says Johnson.
For more information on how you can donate to Safehouse of the Desert or volunteer your time, go to www.operationsafehouse.org.