Harry Tompson Center – Site Coordinator
New Orleans, LA
Year Founded: 1999
JVC partner for: 12 years
Population Served: Guests are currently or previously homeless individuals, predominantly men; the majority who are chronically homeless and/or have a mental illness.
Organization Description: Until 2013, the Harry Thompson Center (HTC) was the only day center for the city’s homeless population. It serves over 150 individuals daily through case management, housing placement, showers, laundry, hygiene kits, restrooms, medical services, legal services, psychiatric services, eye care, medical supplies, phone services, cell phone charging services, bicycle services, haircuts, computer services, educational classes, clothing distribution and more! Jesuit priest Harry Tompson founded HTC at the parish center of the Church of the Immaculate Conception to provide the homeless with a place to shower, wash clothes, and rest in a peaceful environment. By the time Hurricane Katrina struck, the Center was seeing up to 275 people daily and was severely damaged by flooding. A beautiful new center was established in 2007 in collaboration with two other non-profits, which now provides “comprehensive one-stop shop” for individuals experiencing homelessness, serving both physical needs and also attending to the whole person with respect and compassion.
JV’s Role: Two JVs work here in separate locations. At one site, the JV coordinates the center and arrives early when it opens to supervise the part-time staff whom s/he works alongside. The JV’s other primary duties are to coordinate the shower and laundry services and provide referrals to other services when needed. The Center can get very busy but also provides an excellent opportunity to develop relationships with the regular guests.
How JVs Make an Impact: “JVs have been vital to the success and effectiveness of our agency for the past eight years. Since HTC has such a small staff, the role the JVs play is critical for they are, in some respects, our most public face.”