Hotline: (619) 494-2226


in the U.S.




People in families


Chronically ill




Unaccompanied youths

That's more than half a million people experiencing homelessess



From sexual assault that women face regularly on the streets to people of color experiencing homelessness at a disproportionately high rates, homelessness is a multifaceted issue that requires closer inspection. Cecily Ma, Director of Chapter Programs, discusses in depth these issues in her workshops.

Basic Needs

For those experiencing homelessness, traditionally, basic needs are food and water. However, in a complex society, access to healthcare, insurance, transportation, education, sanitation, personal care items, and communication are just as important. That’s why here at Mustard Seed Project, the main reason for our street outreach program is not to pass out basic necessities, but to create a presence of trust in which we can direct individuals to our Volunteer Service Navigation program. The main goal is to help individuals rise above their situation through rapport and service, with work put in by both the client and service navigator.

Barriers to Access


A structural barrier is an obstacle that prevents an eligible person from getting access. Examples of this are the locations of programs, how they are organized, and what they require of applicants.


These barriers are a result of an inadequate amount of resources. This typically is seen in the form of limited funding. These barriers are most often seen in mental health and substance use care.


These are program rules that establish criteria for whom may receive benefits. These restrictions are usually set at the federal level and cannot be influenced locally. These barriers most often affect housing programs.


“If you want to learn about homelessness, talk to someone who has lived through it.”

~John Brady, Director of Lived Experience Advisors

"I have learned that it’s not an easy place to live on the streets. It’s really frustrating because if you don’t know where you’re at, you don’t know where to find a place to sleep. Sometimes the street is the only place you know. I am really grateful for people who come out to show a little kindness by bringing us water and snacks but it hurts being out here on the streets. It’s something you don’t want to do but sometimes you don’t have a choice and you’re put in this position. Other people see me as a criminal even though I have a clean record. And sometimes that just hurts."
"Don’t stereotype Homeless people. It sucks. It hurts. You don’t understand what you’re looking at. Being on the streets you don’t get treated right. I’ve seen a lot, I keep to myself and that’s pretty much it. You just gotta help people. We don’t wanna be homeless that’s the whole purpose of why we go to programs and stuff. I just wanna be with my family."
"Most people don’t realize that most of these people are homeless because of things that are out of their control. They’re not all just drug addicts and whiners. You got people out here who used to be doctors, lawyers, mechanics, ya know? And I’ve met them all. A lot of people here don’t want a hand out; they want a hand up. A lot of these politicians don’t care about the homeless or poor people at all; they just want the vote, but that’s my opinion. I want an actual solution to homelessness."
"In life, the most important thing to do is love one another. When you love and when you have love, love is everything. When you love someone and you care about that person, you know what you get back? A whole lot of love. All I have is a heart full of love, and you know how much fun it is to make others laugh with me? It’s spectacular."
"We both met when we were homeless. It was my first day being homeless, and I came here trying to look for a shelter and they had no place for the ladies. I saw him and asked him if he could drive me someplace. He told me he didn’t have gas but offered to let me sleep in his car and he would sleep outside. I thought that was sweet…and then, we started hanging out. Now, we're engaged and looking for a house."
"I’ve been attempted to be raped 4 times living out here on the streets. If it wasn’t for my friend Donna here that has the car, I would be on the streets every night. I tried to get into the shelter last night just to shower and they refused me at 5:30 PM. They said they were full. I’ve been coming to the shelter for 3 months ever since I lost my mom. I have no possessions expect for 3 bags. No food, no money, and no nothing. I’m reaching out to you guys for help. I would appreciate anything you can do."
"I first became homeless because I ran out of money and people kept stealing from me. People don’t understand that rent is just too high. And some places have such long waiting lists. I call every day but there’s just nothing available. I’m tired of living out here, and I’m tired of people calling animal control about my dog. I give her plenty water, plenty of food, and I have plenty of treats for her. I’m 71 and I just want to get off living on this sidewalk."
" I lost my job and my place to live and that’s why I am homeless. I tell people you’re only one pay check from being out here on the streets. You lose your job you’re out here on the street like everyone else. Jobs are hard to find. I feel safe on the street because I was former Marine. I don’t want to be friends with other people that is homeless because I don’t trust them. Trusting people is alright to some extent but you have to be careful what you say to people because rumors start. You have to improvise, overcome and adapt on the streets. "
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Access to Healthcare

Over 30 million people in the U.S. are uninsured. Half of this number composes of Black, Latinx, and indigenous communities. The lack of mental and physical healthcare plays a major barrier to escaping homelessness.

Race and Homelessness

From practices such as redlining, rental discrimination, mass incarceration, and lack of affordable healthcare. These issues and many more play a role in the high poverty rate of the BIPOC population.