Homeless people don’t shelter themselves making volunteers key for Interfaith Community Services’ Haven House (Video)

Interfaith Community Services Escondido Nutrition Center serving Haven House meals./Courtesy
Doug Ferris and Jan Ferris, foreground, speak with Haven House volunteers.

Doug Ferris and Jan Ferris, foreground, speak with Haven House volunteers.

Homeless people don’t shelter themselves, so the call went out this week for a few, if not more, good volunteers to help Escondido’s non-profit homeless center help others.

Despite its official designation as a “year-round shelter,” the fact is Interfaith Community Services’ Haven House “re-opens” its doors on Dec. 1. those doors don’t open themselves.

“For those sleeping on the streets, a warm bed, nutritious meal and access to a shower is a gift. Interfaith’s Haven House Year-round Shelter provides these basic necessities,” an Interfaith spokesman said, “along with comprehensive case management and support, to homeless community members. Fifty-seven percent of individuals who stayed at the shelter last winter went on to secure safe and affordable housing.”

Forty people — an anticipated 30 men and 10 women — will spend safe and secure nights at Haven House during the chilly days of winter. Two shelter management staff members must be at the facility at all times.

A lot of compassionate, and reliable help is needed. More in a moment about what types of shifts and positions must be filled.

Making the Haven House winter scene.

Making the Haven House winter scene.

Interfaith operates a massive effort to help those on the streets and in need. The group served almost 340,000 meals to hungry people with limited resources last year.

A recent annual report meeting at The North Coast Church emphasized the group’s various initiatives. ““We meet basic needs in a way that not only feeds the hungry, but also addresses bigger underlying issues,” Interfaith’s Executive Director Greg Anglea said at the time.

Including Escondido’s Haven House at the group’s 550 Washington Avenue campus, some 700 North County homeless slept in Interfaith shelters. The group also rental assistance, housing navigation and landlord connections for people in crisis.

The organization also operates Winter Haven Shelter and the Hawthorne Veteran and Family Resource Center, which opens on Oct. 7 with 32 beds, including 20 reserved for military veteran’s. Some 80 percent of Winter Haven’s 2014 population had found permanent shelters since then, he said.

Making the Haven House winter scene.

Making the Haven House winter scene.

The Hawthorne Veteran structure — a former medical office building on North Ash Street — will be renovated to house 20 beds for recuperating veterans, 12 beds for other recuperating patients, and space for intake of those in need of the group’s various services.

Officials for Interfaith Community Services said the overhauled building is intended to become one of five postoperative centers

Those interested in volunteering at Haven House may sign up for as many shifts as their hearts desire. Shifts generally range from one to three hours. For more information contact Jan Ferris, shelter administrator, preferably by email at janferris68@yahoo.com or call (760) 801-0420.

Without further ado, these are the shifts…


Time Commitment: 5:15- 6:15pm

  • Provide coverage for the front door when the shelter opens at 5:30 pm
  • Ensure that the individual is a shelter resident (by having a current voucher)
  • Administer the alcohol testing unit to determine that the client is alcohol free
  • Volunteers will have a shelter management person with them at all times


Time Commitment: 5:15- 6:15pm

  • Assist at the sign-in table
  • Check ID’s and have the resident sign-in on appropriate forms
  • Help explain to residents other check lists and what they are used for


Back Door Monitor

Time Commitment: 5:15- 6:30 p.m.

  • Maintain security of the back door
  • Ensure that no one leaves the shelter as all exists should happen through the front door

Kitchen Monitor 

Time Commitment: 6:30-7:30/8 p.m.

  • Monitor the kitchen area once dinner begins at 6:30 p.m.
  • Ensure that the area is maintained and safe for residents
  • Watch all areas to make sure residents do not wander into other Interfaith areas
  • When dinner is finished, monitor the kitchen area to make sure all cleaning has been completed and everyone has left the kitchen
  • Report back to Shelter Management upon completion of the shift

Shower Monitor

Time Commitment: 6:30- 8:30pm

  • Monitor the area when showers or laundry machines are in use (one male and one female volunteer- could be part of the monitors above)
  • Sit or stand in area to make sure residents do not wander into other Interfaith areas

Shelter Monitor

Time Commitment: 5:30-9 p.m. at the very latest

  • Several volunteer shelter monitors to assist with evening tasks (i.e.: bedding requests, towels, changing of beds but most of all being present and offering assistance to the residents.)