ESCONDIDO — Podcasting is a force in reaching mass audiences.
And it’s one reason why Interfaith Community Services is joining the craze. Interfaith is a nonprofit dedicated to ending the homeless cycle for residents in North County.
As a way to reach more people to enlist their support, Chief Executive Officer Greg Anglea turned to podcasting, launching the show, “Homeless in San Diego.”
“We found there is a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions about the people experiencing homelessness,” he said. “We want to break down those stereotypes and connect the average community member to the actual people experiencing homelessness. We believe personal connections and being able to identify with someone as a human being rather than a statistic, is a real important piece to galvanize resources to help people overcome homelessness.”
Interfaith launched its first episode on June 30 and has reached hundreds of listeners, even some who are homeless, Anglea said. He is the host of the show, which features one aspect of homelessness per episode and delivers a clear call to action for listeners.
Two weeks ago, using the Voice of San Diego’s studio (the studio rents to other podcasters), Interfaith Communications Manager Fiona King filled in as host for Anglea (stuck in traffic) and spoke with Oceanside Homeless Outreach Team officer Josh Ferry and Jerry Allen, a former homeless man.
The Oceanside Police Department was the first local police outfit to create and implement a Homeless Outreach Team in North County. Ferry described the efforts as more approachable and responsive to those in need; although he said they will enforce the law when necessary.
Ferry crossed paths with Allen, who had been on the streets for 11 years after being released from prison. With the help of Kerry and his team, Allen was able to get an ID, social security card, birth certificate and clear his warrants.
Oh, and he found a home. The impact is more than Allen could describe, but he noted how his health is better (he had two strokes and suffered heart failure) and he gained 30 pounds and is back up to his normal weight.
“Each episode is driven by one person or one family who has experienced homelessness,” Anglea said. “We give them a chance to share who they are, their journey, where homelessness came into that journey and how they, hopefully, have overcome homelessness.”
But for Interfaith, the podcast is more about connecting the public with real-life stories and impacts. While Interfaith is one of many homeless service providers, Anglea said they are happy to have guests from other nonprofits such as the McAlister Institute, Solutions for Change and others on the program.
After all, they are all fighting the same battle.
Anglea was also able to land one big guest, Peter Seidler, the owner of the San Diego Padres. Their discussion centers on the business community and how they are addressing the issue.
Within each episode, Anglea also focuses on the roles of resources, for example what is a shelter and what does it look like? In addition, he and the guests break down the reality of such resources to combat public misconceptions about those resources and how they are applied.
“We encourage people to listen,” Anglea said. “I think the podcast is a powerful vehicle for storytelling and connecting people very personally to each other.”
For more about the podcast or to download, visit www.homelessinsandiego.org.