SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — It’s something most of us have that we take for granted: a mailing address. One nonprofit is providing mailing addresses for the homeless in San Jose and it’s helping some of them find permanent housing.
At Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, it’s affectionately known as “the Window.” Outside, it’s a window of opportunity–nearly 1,000 of Santa Clara county’s homeless list this as their permanent address.
“We’re going to see about 150 people a day,” said Sharon Miller, director of social ministry at St. Joseph’s Cathedral. “I would say having a mailing address is taken for granted.”
Miller started a homeless mail service thirty years ago through the cathedral, but as the homeless population has grown to more than 9,000 in San Jose, word has spread about the service. The Window opened in February and has a line around the block every single day.
“A stable address is what you put on a resume, it’s what you put on your application for employment healthcare,” Miller said.
It’s much more than a mailbox. They offer free healthcare, food, toiletries and job placement. Miller says she registers 15 new people for mail services a week and helps about 10 people find permanent housing weekly.
Bryan McCrary is hoping he’ll be next.
“It’s something you can count on that’s stable,” McCrary said. He says simply having an address makes looking for work less awkward.
“You get more out of it than you give, I never felt so close to God until I looked into the eyes of some of those people at the Window and realized we are no different,” volunteer Henry Mollicone said.
The homeless population has seen a lot of doors close, so they’re thankful that someone in San Jose has opened a window.
“You help one person, you made a difference, you just have to think that way,” Mollicone said.
Word about the Window is spreading. Homeless advocates in New York City have reached out to Sharon Miller and her team and are planning to open a homeless mail service in Manhattan modeled after the one in San Jose.