Community Highlights

Team Interfaith Sanctuary – The Night Shift

Richard Torres and Steve Medina

Interviews by Project Well-being Group Members

Tell me about yourself?

Steve writes, “I’m definitely an acquired taste. I blame all the years in the military and working in a maximum security correctional facility, for my mostly crude and inappropriate sense of humor, but I do mean well.”

Richard writes, “I live in Kuna, Idaho and have been a resident there for 20+ years. I’ve been married for 23 years and have two wonderful kids. I’m really a nice person and I usually get along with anybody. ”

Can you describe your job here at interfaith Sanctuary?

Steve writes, “We provide temporary shelter to anyone in need.”

Richard writes, “I’m the Overnight Shift Supervisor. It’s my job to oversee all of our guests’ safety.” Richard does a lot of data entry also, which helps the shelter keep track of all the people who stay here.

What brought you to work at Interfaith?

Steve writes, “I took a long hiatus after Afghanistan and moved back to my hometown here in Idaho. I saw an ad for Interfaith. It was, and has been a perfect fit for me.”

Richard writes, “I was working for Deseret Industries and they told me about Interfaith Sanctuary. I have never worked with the homeless population before and had no experience. At first, it was overwhelming.”

What are some struggles that you face while working here?

Steve writes, “Watching addiction run its course” Many who stay at interfaith struggle with addictions.

Richard writes, “Working graveyard is never easy but it does come with some nice perks. I think my biggest struggle would be telling people our shelter is full for the night and that they will need to find some other arrangements.”

What do you enjoy most about working at Interfaith?

Steve writes, “The look on an individuals face when they receive the most basic necessities, like a bed for the night or food for the day.”

Richard writes, “I enjoy working with the staff and I believe we have a good team. Every staff member has his or her strengths in different areas working with our homeless population. I enjoy working with our guests and hearing their stories. Every guest has a story to tell. I like helping our guests to the best I know how to and it’s very rewarding doing this kind of work.”

What are some things that you do, at Interfaith, to help the guests better themselves?

Steve writes, “I try to just listen and stay neutral. Sometimes in the moment that’s all that is needed.”

Richard writes, “Every person is different and so every person has different needs to better themselves. When a guest leaves in high spirits they’ll make good choices, and if they make good choices I think they’ll be rewarded for that.”

What has the homeless population taught you?

Steve writes, “Awareness. I’d like the community to be aware that at the drop of a hat ANYONE can become homeless.”

Richard writes, “I believe some, or most, people are only one paycheck away from being homeless. I have met people and families over the years and heard their stories on how they became homeless. Someone losing their job, a family member gets sick and with no insurance because they can’t afford it.”

Word on the Street is a collection of personal narratives, artwork, and poetry published by guests at Interfaith Sanctuary and Shelter in Boise, Idaho. It addresses the stigma of homelessness in and its material consequences for the population. Word on the Street represents the voices of Boise’s homeless community as a counter narrative against misrepresentations of themselves and a call for connection.

Its purpose is to bring awareness to the voices of homeless individuals and hope for motivating others through change. This paper is compiled and maintained by Project Well-being, a day program, at Interfaith Sanctuary and Shelter.

If you have a story about how homelessness, mental health and lack of resources affect you, please feel free to send them to If you would like to help the homeless, or fund this paper, please feel free to contact us.

Read more Word on the Street

Check out more articles from Word on the Street!