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The Alpha Project of San Diego: Nonprofit Provides Aid to Homeless

by Blake Bunch, published
The Alpha Project's Metro housing.

The Metro downtown

It is estimated that nearly ten thousand people in San Diego are homeless. While most have a warm, dry place to lay their heads at night, a large faction of San Diegans are struggling. Homelessness presents a vicious cycle of unemployment, unbearable conditions, and constant hunger. For this reason, President and CEO Bob McElroy founded Alpha Project in 1986.

Alpha Project is a nonprofit human services organization serving over four thousand people in the San Diego area daily. The non-profit's key services include: creating affordable housing, residential substance abuse treatment, supportive housing for individuals with special needs, basic and emergency services for the homeless. Also they aid homeless individuals with: transportation needs, mental health counseling, employment training, preparation and placement, emergency shelter, HIV/AIDS, education, outreach and prevention, and various other community services.

Since its inception, the agency has created over six hundred units of affordable rental housing projects, all of which provide an array of services for their residents. All of Alpha Project's properties are managed by Royal Property management.

This is one of the largest aspects of this local nonprofit has to deal with- providing affordable housing.  Alpha Project's Escondido Apartments are geared to provide as much aid as physically possible, with residents having on site access to social work staff, assistance with public benefits and door-to-door transportation for appointments off-site.  The complex also coordinates community events and outings to social and recreational activities for its residents.

Regarding their Oxford Terrace Apartments for low income families in Chula Vista, it is astounding at how many services are provided to residents within their direct grasp.  The apartment complex was the recipient of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (DHUD) annual Best Practices Award for affordable housing, as well as a Beautification Award from the San Diego Apartment Association.

The Alpha Project also owns affordable housing buildings Sierra Woods in Riverside, as well as The Metro in downtown San Diego.   The Metro tends to stand out the most out of the housing units: there are 193 units, a computer lab, food bank, provided transportation through the San Diego Association of Governments, and most importantly, access to healthcare through a partnership with Family Health Centers of San Diego.

Aside from housing and other human services, the Alpha Project also operates in a catering function.  The staff of Alpha Project catering can cover any upcoming event, from office meetings, weddings, to holiday parties and more.  Furthermore, in the realm of substance abuse, the Alpha Group aids in finding transitional employment, treatment, as well as housing for individuals afflicted with addiction.

The City of San Diego and the Housing Commission fund emergency homeless shelters during the winter months as part of its Comprehensive Homeless Policy, of which the Alpha Project became involved in 1996.

The Winter Shelter Program will open in mid-November, and will be operational until the end of March. In short, the Winter Shelter Program provides a majority of the aforementioned services, as well as providing meals and personal hygiene supplies.

As the colder months approach, services provided by nonprofits like the Alpha Group, as well as federal, state, and local programs will ultimately provide basic necessities to the homeless in San Diego.  With the Alpha Group's transitional housing and employment programs, those individuals will have a better chance of gainful employment, as well to get out of the cold and off the streets.


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