The Justice & Diversity Center’s Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) is located in the heart of San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, where every year JDC staffers and volunteers serve more than 1,500 individuals and families who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness. This year, HAP has partnered with the First Mennonite Church of San Francisco’s Voluntary Service (MVS) program to welcome Jacob Regier, a social work student who is taking a year off from his studies to work with HAP.
While Jacob has only been at HAP for about a month, he reports that “it has nonetheless been an incredibly rewarding experience already… [having] benefited from the uplifting work environment at HAP, being encouraged by coworkers and made to feel like part of the team.” He’s also worked with clients whose stories have “floored” him, and the “weight of the injustice of their circumstances” has made him feel intensely motivated to help. He describes one client in particular, whose “one incident of being grazed by a bullet had effectively turned [his] life upside down, inducing prison time, alcoholism, homelessness, and crippling anxiety and PTSD.” Continuing to work with this client has been particularly rewarding for him.
Jacob is originally from Urbana, Ohio, which is located an hour west of Columbus. He grew up in the Mennonite Church and got involved in the MVS program because he’s “passionate about issues of peace and justice, and … wanted to experience living in intentional community and engage in meaningful work, helping others.” He’s enjoyed his stay so far in San Francisco, where he’s been spending time with new friends eating out, drinking coffee and checking out new places and events. He also likes to cook, bake, and go running or biking. After HAP, he intends to finish his Bachelor’s degree in Social Work at Messiah College in Pennsylvania and pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work, Public Health, or both.
For more information about the Homeless Advocacy Project, visit www.sfbar.org/hap.