Homelessness, visibility, and invisibility

As law school was coming to an end I was overwhelmed by the question “What now?” I did not have a job, my parents sold my childhood home and moved across the country, the past seven years of my life had been dedicated to higher education, and suddenly graduation was approaching. This was the first time in my life that I would not be returning to school again in the fall and the absence of a plan was overwhelming. Law school has a way of taking up all of your time, so what started out as weeks turned into months turned into years without any serious reflection on what God was calling me to do. I dedicated my time to justice work through my school’s legal clinic and volunteered with various student groups, but I had not figured out how it all came together. When I found the Episcopal Service Corps and realized it could provide an opportunity to serve others while seeking God, I knew it was a sign. 

Following God’s calling to California, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to work with Episcopal Community Services and serve the homeless population of San Francisco. What I am most thankful for is the diversity of work that this organization provides. Some days I am serving meals to homeless and low income seniors while others I am writing grant proposals to keep programs running. During the election, I worked with community organizers to distribute voter education material and I went into the shelters to register people to vote. I have been trained in a number of amazing skill sets like de-escalation and restorative justice. This diversity of opportunity has allowed me to use my existing talents while also providing space to see if God is calling me in a different direction. 

Much of this growth stems from the fact that Episcopal Community Services is an amazing organization that is truly doing God’s work. Paradoxically, homelessness seems to be more visible here than anywhere else I’ve ever lived, yet the homeless are just as invisible here as they are in every major city. Episcopal Community Services fights this marginalization by empowering individuals and giving them a voice. From emergency housing in shelters to vocational training programs to health and rehabilitation to long-term supportive housing, Episcopal Community Services works to meet all the needs of the homeless population. 

It seems like every day I am exposed to yet another way that Episcopal Community Services is changing someone’s life and making the world a better place. I know that I am not alone in this realization as I see businesspeople continuously seeking out volunteer opportunities with Episcopal Community Services and tourists so moved that they send donations to Episcopal Community Services when they return home. Though it has only been a few months and I do not have a clear answer for what God is calling me to do, I know that I am doing God’s work through an incredible organization while living with an amazing group of interns. That is enough for right now.