Houseless Environmental Volunteers Initiative
The Houseless Environmental Volunteers Initiative aims to provide reliable and meaningful volunteer opportunities, with stipends, to houseless individuals in San Jose, while furthering environmental efforts and contributing to the urban forest.
"HEVI is a student-led mission centered around empowerment and compassion through ecological stewardship. By partnering with local nonprofits, HEVI is not only providing members of our unhoused community with stipends and opportunities to restore our environment, they are nurturing hope, power, and positive change."
California State Senator Dave Cortese
Words of Support
Houseless, not Homeless.
Hear our houseless individuals’ stories on our Blog Posts.
Each of our houseless friends are on a unique journey, a story shaped by circumstances, challenges, and resilience.
As you read these blogs, please show respect for our houseless friends. They've shown incredible courage by allowing us to share their life stories and experiences on this blog. We kindly request that you treat their stories with the sensitivity and empathy they deserve.
As the Bay Area begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the houseless community has received inadequate support. Unemployment rates have dropped by 8% this past year, but the houselessness rate in California is still projected to increase by 68% of what it is now in the next 4 years. This is primarily due to the large amounts of layoffs in the pandemic and small business closures, which have forced people to foreclose their homes, couchsurf, or live on the streets. The public has recognized this need for jobs and solutions for the houseless population. According to a survey conducted by Mercury News, houselessness is currently recognized as the number one issue of the Bay Area.
Environmental efforts have also been impeded throughout the pandemic, with government programs, individual donations, and volunteers focused on the public health crisis. Small local nonprofits have shut down due to a lack of funding, and those that are still open are left with a fraction of the labor that they operated with at the beginning of 2020.
HEVI aims to address both imperative issues by engaging the houseless community in reliable forms of employment that simultaneously support the environmental cause.