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Helping Walnut Creek’s Homeless

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Walnut Creek, CA, Community, John Alonso is the executive director of the Trinity Center in Walnut Creek.

Walnut Creek has enjoyed great success in establishing itself as a destination for top-notch dining and up-scale shopping, however with that success has come larger problems, such as the occasionally unruly bar patron and a growing homeless population.

The city has taken steps to address both problems through policing, but tucked away near the BART tracks above California Boulevard is a place working to offer access to resources aimed at doing more than just policing the symptoms of homelessness.

The Trinity Center is a non-residential, day shelter for the homeless operated out of the Fellowship House at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Walnut Creek. The Center provides a safe place for the homeless and working poor to find basic services, like a meal, shower and laundry facilities, and warm clothes, as well as help finding other services ranging from housing and veterans’ benefits to free dentistry and haircuts.

Executive Director John Alonso says that the Center receives funding from both City of Walnut Creek, the County of Contra Costa, and several corporate foundations, but that the bulk of support for the Center comes from the faith community and donations from generous individual donors.

The Center does its best to coordinate with other local programs to maximize the impact of what resources it does have. Hillside Covenant Church, for instance, used to provide free meals to the homeless in Walnut Creek’s Civic Park. The City, however, put an end to the “Lunch in the Park” program, so Hillside Covenant now serves meals at Trinity Center, which shares its client base.

Non-profit organizations elsewhere in Contra Costa County, such as Loaves and Fishes, in Martinez and Pittsburg, and the Monument Crisis Center, in Concord, have been working to bring a host of non-profit, governmental, and faith-based organizations into their dining rooms to connect with those most in need of services. The idea is to provide a more efficient way to contact potential clients and distribute services in one central location.
Trinity Center is working toward the same goal in Walnut Creek.

For information about the Trinity Center, or to make a donation, visit http://trinitycenterwc.org