Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, 40% of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck. Now, in the midst of mandatory lockdowns and layoffs, the United States is facing a new type of crisis: the homelessness pandemic. As we look forward to a vaccine and getting back to a normal way of life, some people, like Neli Vazquez Rowland, are looking towards the long term impacts of the pandemic.
On this week’s episode of the Hope Matrix, I spoke with Neli Vazquez Rowland, the Co-Founder and President of A Safe Haven (ASH). ASH is an award-winning vertically integrated social and economic development model that rebuilds the lives of individuals impacted by poverty, substance abuse, prison reentry, and homelessness. The ASH model uses a holistic, integrated, and individualized multi-disciplinary approach to offer addiction treatment, education, healthcare, job training/placement, and supportive and affordable housing development. ASH has served over 10,000 people since 1994, and is currently serving over 5,000 individuals each year.
Neli began this week’s episode by examining the effect of the pandemic-related lockdowns and layoffs on American homelessness, and outlining the steps ASH is taking to prepare for the rise in homelessness across America. Neli and I also discussed the helplessness and despair (the two ingredients of hopelessness) that many Americans experience when facing the homelessness issue, and reviewed the hope tools, such as Stress Skills, that we can use to return to a hopeful, critical-thinking mindset. Finally, Neli presented inspired actions that we can take to help address the root cause of homelessness.
To learn more about Neli’s work, visit https://www.asafehaven.org/ and http://nelivr.com/. The full episode of this week’s podcast can be viewed at https://thehopematrix.com/, or on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.