“Change Can Happen if You Give Hope” by Bobbi Hafar, HERO Team

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“Today took a toll on me emotionally. I called to get some information on a homeless client that I have been working with so that I can help get him into housing. I couldn’t locate him for a while.

I found out that he had been found in an alleyway bleeding from his ears, mouth and nose and was also bleeding internally. He was taken to the hospital 10 days ago. So, I went to the hospital to check in with him. He is a polite 73-year-old man. He has a drinking problem that he acquired after he lost his wife four years ago. After she passed away, he became a heavy drinker and was evicted from his home and became homeless. In the four years of his homeless lifestyle, he acquired hepatitis C from sharing needles.

I immediately went to the hospital after finding out today to visit and see how he was doing. He was happy to have a visitor. I told him, ‘Well, you’re in a good spot. It’s raining cats and dogs out there!’ The nurse told me that he had an operation to remove water from his stomach and that he had a blood infection caused by drinking and hepatitis C. She proceeded to tell me that he stopped taking medication for it because he was upset that he couldn’t get his methadone. After I told him how important it was to be on his medication and that his life is important, he replied, ‘I’m a grumpy old man. I’m sick of taking it. I already took it long enough.’ I said, ‘Yeah and a stubborn stinker at that!’ He laughed. I told him, ‘If you stop taking that medication, you will be right back in this bed at the hospital next week.’ He said, ‘Yeah, I know.’ Then he told me that he would put his IV back in. So, I retrieved the nurse and told her.

Before I left, I told him that I’ll be checking on him. After he gets out, the plan is to find him housing. I explained to him that I need him to get better. I’m just hoping that he gets better and takes his medication.

Everyone’s life matters. Even the homeless – the forgotten. Everyone deserves to be cared for and feel that they matter. It broke my heart that he was in the hospital with no family to support him through this. Change can happen if you give hope.” – Bobbi Hafar, Outreach Specialist, HERO (Homeless Engagement Resource Outreach) Team

The HERO (Homeless Engagement Resource Outreach) Team provides outreach, identification, assessment and navigation services for Veterans and other chronically homeless individuals and their families within the City of Fresno. The goal is to quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis and/or homelessness.

WestCare California, Inc. and its subcontracted partners: Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, Poverello House and Turning Point of Central California employ Outreach/Navigators to work alongside the Fresno Police Department Homeless Task Force, respond to requests for street outreach and assessments generated from the City of Fresno and coordinate with all Multi Agency Access Point (MAP) locations and other housing and support services. These services and interventions are geared to removing barriers while providing linkages to supportive services in an effort to achieve housing stabilization for homeless Veterans and other chronically homeless individuals and their families.

For More Program Information, Contact:
(559) 241-8753 Ext. 21233 or hero.team@westcare.com


Oorah – Raymond Gonzalez, SJVV Outreach Specialist

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Hi, my name is Raymond Gonzales. I work as an Outreach Specialist with San Joaquin Valley Veterans (SJVV) and have been in this position for over a year and a half. I’ve previously worked with Westcare eight years as an alcohol and drug counselor.

I served in the United States Marines in the 70’s and 80’s, while the Iran hostage Crisis was happening in 1979, and was deployed to Okinawa, and Korea. I am proud to have served my country and would go again if I could.

I am thrilled to be throwing out the first pitch at WestCare Night/San Joaquin Valley Veterans Night! Let us always remember to show appreciation for our military! Happy Fourth of July weekend and Go Grizzlies!

2015 WestCare Night Flyer