Hope For Home is a year-round service center for homeless individuals which was founded by Volunteers of America Los Angeles (VOALA). Hope For Home opened their doors last year in Pomona, California, and they now provide shelter for over 100 people.
On July 18th, 2019, one of Tzu Chi’s Mobile Clinics arrived at Hope For Home for the first time, bringing much-needed vision services to those in need.
Keeping an Eye on Vision Health
With over $10,000,000 in funding, Hope For Home’s Pomona Service Center was built in less than two years on 2.61-acres of land. It’s also the first homeless shelter established in San Gabriel. At the time of our medical team’s visit, the shelter was home to 108 people, but can hold over 200.
Last year, Tzu Chi volunteers visited the shelter to distribute blankets. This time, we sent a Mobile Clinic to the Service Center, hoping to improve people’s lives by offering free vision services.
Before our volunteers arrived for the medical outreach, Reggie Clark – the manager of Hope for Home in Pomona – helped us spread the word, encouraging residents with eye problems to register for the services. A total of fourteen patients had benefited from the medical outreach, and those who required eyeglasses received their pair on the very same day.
Now She Can Read the Small Print
Deborah Taylor is from Pasadena. Upon receiving her prescription eyeglasses, she told volunteers that she’d been homeless for two and a half years after losing the allowance from Section 8 housing for low-income individuals and families.
The past two years have been very hard for her. She lost a brother and attempted suicide twice. In the end, she took shelter at Hope for Home.
Deborah was very grateful for Tzu Chi’s prescription eyeglasses, and as she said, she can now read the small print!
Ninety-Nine Cent Eyeglasses
Luis R. Hernandez shared his story with us as well. His vision had begun to deteriorate approximately five years ago, and it became hard to read his Bible. So, he purchased a pair of eyeglasses at a dollar store for 99 cents.
They weren’t quite what he needed, however, and when he heard there would be free eye examinations, he was eager to meet Tzu Chi’s doctors. “Tzu Chi is great,” he expressed upon receiving his free prescription glasses. “I thought everybody was very helpful – very prompt. It was quick. I think I just made it in time for lunch!”
It's Hard to See Doctors with Low Vision
Jeanne Wu, an ophthalmologist at our Mobile Clinic, strives to serve each patient with the utmost care. She’s a member of TIMA who works at Dr. Lina Lin’s clinic, and thus, she discovered Tzu Chi’s medical outreach through Lina, who is also a volunteer doctor for Tzu Chi. This event was Dr. Wu’s first medical outreach experience with Tzu Chi.
During her visit to Hope for Home, Dr. Jeanne Wu realized that many people had lost their eyeglasses because they live in a shelter, where keeping track of one’s belongings is not so simple. Then, when individuals with low vision were forced to live without their glasses, they were unable to carry out many of the tasks required of them, and were essentially left at a standstill. Knowing that the opportunities born from better vision can be endless, Tzu Chi’s medical outreach is especially critical for individuals who are homeless and trying to improve their lives.
According to Dr. Wu, low vision has been a lasting obstacle for homeless people who wish to visit doctors. In addition to providing prescription eyeglasses, Tzu Chi’s Vision Mobile clinic can also help assess various forms of eye diseases. The services rendered greatly benefited people living in the shelter.
Compassion Without Limits
Love has no limit. Therefore, wherever they may go, Tzu Chi volunteers are devoted to providing their aid with compassion and respect for all. Through our medical outreach events, Tzu Chi volunteers are improving the lives of individuals who are homeless bit-by-bit, and ensuring they know they are not alone.