A revamped job-skills program and a grant-supported playwriting project are among exciting recent developments at Father Joe’s Villages, San Diego’s largest homeless-services provider.

On Sept. 15, the Father Joe’s Villages Employment & Education Services program moved to a new location at St. Teresa of Calcutta Villa and was renamed Gene Burkard Employment and Education Services. The program helps San Diego homeless find and keep jobs.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the center’s new location at 1 14th St. in downtown San Diego.

Because loss of income is the primary driver of homelessness in California, Father Joe’s Villages is expanding its resources to help more people find long-term jobs. The move to St. Teresa of Calcutta Villa will complete an expansion that kicked off earlier this year when EES hired three additional staff members to support the program that now has more resources and a larger space to operate.

The new name honors the generosity of the late Gene Burkard, whose multi-million-dollar support helped expand the program and will sustain its services for years to come.

Father Joe’s Villages also has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Humanities For All grant awards for a playwriting project called Stories of CREED in Action.

Stories of CREED in Action will offer two playwriting residencies to Father Joe’s Villages’ clients in partnership with the San Diego-based nonprofit organization Playwrights Project.

Frank Kensaku Saragosa, a recipient of the PEN Literary Award who has lived experience with homelessness, will be leading the playwriting workshops.

Public performances of the plays will be held at the Morgan Auditorium, in partnership with San Diego Central Library, from June 14 to 16, 2024.

The playwriting workshops will allow people with lived experience to share their stories and the public to get a glimpse of the circumstances they’ve overcome….

From the Southern Cross