Thrift store in North Park funds homeless shelter for young mothers

Shop also gives women job experience and skills
Posted at 7:33 AM, May 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-22 10:43:04-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The Home Start Thrift Boutique in North Park offers clothes and other household items at great prices, but it is also helping end the homeless problem in San Diego.

Money from sales and donations at the store helps fund the Home Start Maternity Shelter program. It provides a place to stay and job training for homeless women between 18 and 24 years old, who are either pregnant or have young children.

Last year, it housed 31 mothers and 38 kids.

"It's a relief because you don't have to worry about being homeless anymore," said Alexis Gutierrez, who has been at the shelter for almost two years.

She's also been working at the Thrift Boutique.

"I love it. I feel like I'm doing something for myself, but also for the other women in the program," she added.

According to the most recent homeless count, 29 percent of the unsheltered homeless population in San Diego are women. The count also found 513 homeless families, making up nearly 1,600 people.

The shelters offer on-site counseling services, day care and job training. For Gutierrez, it also gives hope that her son won't have to live on the streets.

"The first time I got here I cried because I knew he'd be safe," she said. "He can have a better life than me."