(KGTV) — "The communities that we serve are coming to us often hopeless. It’s our staff’s job. It's our team’s job to provide hope," says Jimmy Figueroa, Executive Director of Operation Hope North County.
That's exactly what they do at this shelter in Vista.
It is run by the non-profit Operation Hope North County.
They serve families with children and single mothers who oftentimes have a job but cannot afford housing.
"We get to service a population that many don’t see or many don’t know they are homeless. They have not disclosed it to their coworkers or kids' schools that they are homeless," adds Figueroa.
The shelter opened in 2016 with the help of community leaders, United Methodist Church and the city of Vista.
"The community realizes we need a shelter dedicated to families. 62 percent of our clients are youth. When we think of our children sleeping in a car, it moves you into action," says Beatriz Palmer, Board President of Operation Hope North County.
Palmer says the organization served about 180 families last year. They work with a case manager to save money and get a job.
"We really want to know the obstacles families are going through so meeting with their case manager weekly is important. We know what resources to advocate for," says Figueroa.
Palmer says many of the residents are immigrants like herself and helping them keeps her going.
"I feel a sense of ethical responsibility to be engaged so other moms like myself, my neighbors do not have to sleep in their car," she adds.
For their work in supporting and encouraging families in our community. ABC 10 News and Lead San Diego are proud to honor Operation Hope North County as our 10 News leadership award winners for the month of October.
The organization says about 40 to 50 percent families they serve, are able to find permanent housing.