As cold temperatures move into Rochester, local organizations are teaming up to provide training on helping those dealing with homelessness.
Nationally recognized homelessness expert Ryan Dowd will present “Helping Those Dealing with Homelessness” in November at two workshops for community members working in service fields.
Dowd is the director of Chicago’s second-largest homeless shelter, Hesed House, the same shelter where he started as a volunteer in his teens. Dowd’s training focuses on utilizing empathy and respect to provide more positive outcomes with individuals facing challenges, including those who lack proper shelter.
In this training, participants will learn about the various challenges faced by people experiencing homelessness and how to provide compassionate services.
“Homeless individuals are treated very poorly by most people," Dowd said. "They are constantly subjected to harassment and disrespect. Most homeless people are craving to be treated with respect.”
Rochester Public Library, the City of Rochester, Olmsted County and Southeastern Libraries Cooperating have teamed up to fund the training events. The first session is geared at those working in libraries.
“Libraries are welcoming spaces for everyone; sheltered or unsheltered,” said Kim Edson, head of readers services.
“Ryan’s training helps us better understand our homeless patrons so we can better balance their needs alongside the needs of all customers," she said.
The two trainings will be held at the Mayo Civic Center on Nov. 5 and are open to anyone who wants to learn more about interacting with the homeless. The trainings are free, but tickets are required.