Gentrification can mean a facelift for an area, but it can also seem like a dirty word when there’s a hip new bar where a mom-and-pop used to be. And because change sometimes sweeps aside the most vulnerable among us, Downtown’s transformation has a lot of people thinking about the homeless.
Rather than just think about them, Merideth Spriggs is doing something, with her developing Las Vegas-based nonprofit Caridad. The California transplant began working with the homeless nine years ago for San Diego Rescue Mission after becoming homeless herself when she lost a job. Her experience both on the streets and later coordinating services for the homeless led her to create CaridadSD, “to help educate the public about homelessness,” she explains.
Now, with support from Downtown Project, Spriggs is bringing Caridad here, with its mission to build public understanding, train volunteers, ask the homeless directly what services are most needed and provide personal case management to see it through. “It means charity, plain and simple.”
While the organization is currently on paper only, Spriggs is working on funding for an office and small staff so Caridad can offer “streamlined access” to resources at the lowest possible cost, in part by not duplicating the efforts of existing organizations. Spriggs says she will collaborate with area service providers and advocates to “get the homeless housed!”