Mustard Seed Project's mission - guided by a hand-up, not hand-out philosophy - is to connect unsheltered and low-income individuals to services and programs through grassroots organization, relationship-based outreach, and volunteer service navigation.
Everyday in the U.S. there are more than 550K individuals living in homeless situations. Mustard Seed Project is composed entirely of college students and graduates who are dedicated to helping our neighbors. With our Volunteer Service Navigation program, we fight homelessness by working one-on-one with individuals to build professional resumes, fill out applications (MediCal, General Relief, CalFresh, housing waitlists, etc.), and file referrals to community resources such as financial, legal, and healthcare services. We believe that if everyone helps in the community, we can end chronic homelessness.
Our Hotline: (619) 494-2226
Our chapters are self-sufficient, with our volunteers governing themselves, recruiting students, hosting fundraisers, and educating the public about homelessness. We offer volunteers opportunities in leadership positions, building professional and life-long skills in social services.
College student volunteers go out in groups of five weekly to densely populated areas of homelessness to provide basic necessities such as food, water, and hygienic products. Through this, we establish relationships in the communities that we serve, as well as figure out how we can better help the individuals we meet.
Homeless Service Navigation
Volunteer Service Navigators are chosen for their dedication and extensive experience with homelessness. Trained with the tools and best practices to connect homeless individuals to resources and programs, they create person-centered approaches to help our clients achieve their goals.
Everyday, over 11,000 women, men and children in San Diego and Riverside are living in constant uncertainty of where they will find their next meal or bed.
Our Commitment to Transparency
Mustard Seed Project's members are all non-paid volunteers, including our leadership team. We rely solely on the support of the communities that we operate in, with 88% of our revenue coming from donations and gifts. Therefore, we understand the importance of building trust with our supporters. Any and all donations we receive will go directly to either helping our clients or continuing the fight against homelessness.
I have learned that it’s not an easy place to live on the streets. It’s really frustrating because if you don’t know where you’re at, you don’t know where to find a place to sleep. Sometimes the street is the only place you know. I am really grateful for people who come out to show a little kindness by bringing us water and snacks but it hurts being out here on the streets. It’s something you don’t want to do but sometimes you don’t have a choice and you’re put in this position. Other people see me as a criminal even though I have a clean record.
In life, the most important thing to do is love one another. When you love and when you have love, love is everything. When you love someone and you care about that person, you know what you get back? A whole lot of love. All I have is a heart full of love, and you know how much fun it is to make others laugh with me? It’s spectacular.
We both met when we were homeless. It was my first day being homeless, and I came here trying to look for a shelter and they had no place for the ladies. I saw him and asked him if he could drive me someplace. He told me he didn’t have gas but offered to let me sleep in his car and he would sleep outside. I thought that was sweet…and then, we started hanging out. Now, we're engaged and looking for a house.
Most people don’t realize that most of these people are homeless because of things that are out of their control. They’re not all just drug addicts and whiners. You got people out here who used to be doctors, lawyers, mechanics, ya know? And I’ve met them all. A lot of people here don’t want a hand out; they want a hand up. A lot of these politicians don’t care about the homeless or poor people at all; they just want the vote, but that’s my opinion. I want an actual solution to homelessness.
Don’t stereotype Homeless people. It sucks. It hurts. You don’t understand what you’re looking at. Being on the streets you don’t get treated right. I’ve seen a lot, I keep to myself and that’s pretty much it. You just gotta help people. We don’t wanna be homeless that’s the whole purpose of why we go to programs and stuff. I just wanna be with my family.
I’ve been attempted to be raped 4 times living out here on the streets. If it wasn’t for my friend Donna here that has the car, I would be on the streets every night. I tried to get into the shelter last night just to shower and they refused me at 5:30 PM. They said they were full. I’ve been coming to the shelter for 3 months ever since I lost my mom. I have no possessions expect for 3 bags. No food, no money, and no nothing. I’m reaching out to you guys for help. I would appreciate anything you can do.
I lost my job and my place to live and that’s why I am homeless. I tell people you’re only one pay check from being out here on the streets. You lose your job you’re out here on the street like everyone else. Jobs are hard to find. I feel safe on the street because I was former Marine. I don’t want to be friends with other people that is homeless because I don’t trust them. Trusting people is alright to some extent but you have to be careful what you say to people because rumors start. You have to improvise, overcome and adapt on the streets.
I first became homeless because I ran out of money and people kept stealing from me. People don’t understand that rent is just too high. And some places have such long waiting lists. I call every day but there’s just nothing available. I’m tired of living out here, and I’m tired of people calling animal control about my dog. I give her plenty water, plenty of food, and I have plenty of treats for her. I’m 71 and I just want to get off living on this sidewalk.