Why I Advocate for the Homeless

November 10, 2016

By: Devin Beale, HomeAid San Diego Board Member

I have been a HomeAid San Diego Board Member since 2011, and I’ve always believed in the importance of philanthropy and giving back to my community. I have volunteered building houses for families living in very harsh conditions south of our border for an event called Baja Challenge, every year since it began in 2000, and I have headed up this event for the last eight years. I work closely with Paula Claussen from Project Mercy to select the families and their new home sites. Project Mercy does this year round with small groups that come from all over to help out this poor region. Baja Challenge is Project Mercy’s largest group, and we have built over 300 homes in the last 17 years.  I’m very passionate about this event, but I was also looking for a way to get involved in my local community here in San Diego.

I was introduced to HomeAid through my involvement on the NAIOP Developing Leaders Council; I now serve on the NAIOP Board of Directors. My 15 years of experience in architectural planning, engineering, and construction management made HomeAid the perfect fit because it provides the vehicle for members of the building industry to give back to their community by doing what we do best – building. I loved the idea of being able to utilize my valuable professional skills for philanthropy and advocacy for the homeless. The first project I undertook as a new HomeAid San Diego Board Member was a Maternity Shelter for Home Start and I haven’t looked back since. I was there from the beginning as the architect, acquiring the permits, coordinating the subcontractors and soliciting donations.  I stayed on the project through to completion as the construction manager. Ever since then, I have been an active board member participating in many HomeAid housing projects — always giving 100% of my professional services to the cause.

This is my way of giving back, but you don’t have to be a building professional to advocate for the homeless. Join me and HomeAid San Diego throughout the rest of November in advocating by participating in “Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month.” Each day you will learn something new directly from guest bloggers who are leaders in San Diego County addressing this critical issue. As you do, please share what you have learned with your friends, family or coworkers. Alternatively, or additionally, you can donate money to HomeAid San Diego. Such a gift allows you to leverage your individual contribution far beyond what you could do on your own.

At the end of the day, all I ask is that you do something. As in other urban areas, San Diego’s homeless population is too large and the need is too great. But with a relatively small act, you can be an advocate for those less fortunate and make a real difference in someone’s life.