Alexis Goudeau, RN, BSN, is the founder of homeless services organization Highly Favored: A Blessing to Others and UNAC/UHCP union steward. Tonight, Alexis will join the Commonwealth Club of California‘s Thought Leadership series, in a discussion of how to grapple with some of the highest costs of housing and highest rates of homelessness of our time:
“An astonishing 130,000 men, women and children are homeless in the state of California. That’s enough people to fill every seat in the San Francisco 49ers Levi’s Stadium. Twice. As a society, we spend an average 5.2 million dollars per year providing temporary assistance instead of permanent assistance to those that are less fortunate.
“I am a registered nurse in the heart of Los Angeles, and I discovered the seriousness of homelessness simply by driving to work each day. As a nurse, I know the risks to the health of people living on the streets. These hazardous environments increase risk of infection, weaken the immune system, and subject them to freezing cold at night. Exposure to these elements spreads various diseases such as hepatitis B and typhus like wildfires.
“Our organization, Highly Favored: A Blessing to Others, focuses on providing homeless individuals with backpacks filled with hygiene products that help provide a safeguard against the unsanitary living conditions that surround them. No one deserves to live in such inhumane conditions. Our job as health care providers is to lift the spirits of homeless individuals, boost their self-confidence and keep them safe by helping them stay clean and warm.
“Homelessness looks like you and me. Homelessness can result from a lack of resources, loss of job, a traumatic event, loss of a spouse or support system and or mental illness, amongst other things.
“We each have different paths, but life circumstances do not decrease our humanity and request for basic needs. We have the ability to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate; we have the ability to be a blessing to others.
“The things we often take for granted; others pray for.”