Coordinated Homeless Outreach Center (CHOC)
http://rhd-choc.org/ 1001 Sterigere St, Norristown State Hospital, Building 53 in rear.
Front Desk: 610-292-9244
Service Hours: 6:15-9 Tuesday or Thursday (TBA from site for 18-19)
The Coordinated Homeless Outreach Center (CHOC) of Montgomery County, PA is a partnership between Montgomery County’s Office of Behavioral Health and Resources for Human Development (RHD). The CHOC serves homeless individuals that reside throughout Montgomery County, PA regardless of race, gender, national origin, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation.
CHOC is a 50 bed co-ed shelter for the homeless of Montgomery County. The goal is for residents to stay for 3-4 months until permanent housing is acquired. The residents have Behavioral, Intellectual Disability, substance abuse issues or just down on their luck.
What Will you be doing at CHOC?
You need to be the kind of person who can take initiate in creating programs for and with the residents.
This year there will be programs offered for the residents in the evening. The topics will be designated by CHOC. The first program will be financial literacy focusing on budgeting, credit, and identity theft. We will await word about other programs in which you could be involved. You level of involvement from planning to teaching would be worked out with administration at CHOC.
OSL can provides a snack for motivation to participate and to build community once or twice a month.
CHOC- What Our Students Say
"Serving at CHOC can be challenging, which ultimately makes it a much more rewarding and educational experience than it would otherwise be. Students that serve at CHOC must take it upon themselves to initiate conversations with people they are unaccustomed to talking with, about subjects they are unaccustomed to talking about. Through the dialogues we initiate with residents we learn about the circumstances that lead to homelessness, and the consequences that arise from it. Though we do not assist in their navigation of social services, SLC students’ continued presence and the relationships that we form help to remind the residents of their humanity, as those experiencing homelessness are often ignored by the rest of society. The role of SLC students at CHOC is to simply talk to residents, get to know them, learn from them, and provide a little respite from their daily struggles. Oftentimes students will bring games, arts and crafts, snacks, and movies to assist in getting to know residents (and to have a bit of fun!) It is quite the privilege to learn someone’s story, and to be there during what may be one of the most difficult portions of their life. The relationships I have formed with past residents have shown me that we are not that dissimilar from those we serve, and that we have much to learn from those with different life experiences than our own." -Emily Burton ‘18
One of the many great aspects of working at CHOC is that it provides an intimate serving experience with other adults. Volunteering with fellow adults has created an amazing opportunity for mutual learning between volunteers and residents. CHOC has given me the chance to not only serve, but also learn. This is what SLC is all about. The relationships one forms while talking and bonding with the residents are ones that open one’s eyes to the challenges of homelessness and the stereotypes that perpetuate the problem. Volunteering at CHOC is important because it shows the residents at CHOC that they are not forgotten. Often our job includes bringing food for the residents, doing crafts with them, reading with them, and listening to their amazing stories. Each volunteer is there to be a friend, a teacher, and also a learner. This program helps bridge the gap between two not-so-different communities. Volunteering at CHOC can be challenging because it is not always easy to see the immediate effects of service. However, it has always been worth it to know that you have shown these people that their lives are valuable and purposeful. Meghan Murphy SLC ’15-16