M.A.P. volunteers help homeless find shelter

December 24, 2008 11:44:53 PM PST
It's always tough to be homeless, but so much more so during the holidays -- especially when it's cold and wet. On Christmas Eve, while Santa makes his rounds, volunteers in San Francisco are making theirs.

It's always tough to be homeless, but so much more so during the holidays-- especially when it's cold and wet. On Christmas Eve, while Santa makes his rounds, volunteers in San Francisco are making theirs.

Max Haptonstahl, from the Mobile Assistance Patrol, is on the lookout.

"If there's any question in your mind there's someone in need, you go ahead and pull over," says Haptonstahl.

The Mobile Assistance Patrol in San Francisco is a non-profit group that helps the homeless get to the services they need. The program operates 24/7, but on this Christmas Eve, its mission takes on added significance.

"Holidays can be a hard time for them just like for anybody, especially if you're out there on the street and you don't even know what's happened to your family or your family has abandoned you," says Haptonstahl.

Haptonstahl is patrolling the areas where he'll likely find people in need. Some, though, don't want any help. A man on Sixth Street near Howard is content right where he is.

"How are you doing? I'm with MAP. Are you okay?," says Haptonstahl to the homeless man.
"I'm alright," says the homeless man.

Yet max presses on, combing the streets, knowing that eventually he'll find someone who will need a helping hand.

"Are you good tonight?" asks Haptonstahl.
"No," says Chuck Wall, a homeless man.
"Do you need to get indoors somewhere?" asks Haptonstahl. "Yeah," says Wall.

Chuck is 52 and is looking for a warm place to sleep. Haptonstahl takes him to a shelter on Fifth Street -- one of the few places with beds to spare.

"Just being on the streets is kind of a dismal way to look at Christmas, but it's alright. There are good people like this guy that brings me to a shelter and helps me out and stuff. So, there's a lot of good people around," Says Wall.

Haptonstahl was homeless himself many years ago, so he knows what the people on the street are going through.

"There's a lot of folks in this field who've been through this before and that's really a motivating factor, to give back, to do something for the people out there" says Haptonstahl.

And it's that motivation that will inspire max to continue his work with the homeless, even when this season of giving is over.

Mobile Assistance Patrol (MAP)


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