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Social Programs

Compeer Homeless

Compeer/Compeer Homeless


A program that serves people recovering from mental illness. The program matches caring volunteers from the community with clients and encourages them to develop a one-to-one relationship based on friendship and support. Compeer staff make weekly contacts with their match using text, phone, email, etc. 2-3 hours of face-to-face contact in a month in which they do some sort of activity and weekly check-in phone calls.

Compeer Homeless

A rehabilitative service for individuals who are homeless and have a mental illness. The Compeer Homeless Program matches individuals who have a mental illness and reside in shelters, in a one-to-one relationship with the Compeer Homeless Coordinator. This program is the only one in Orange County and helps bridge the gaps of services already in place for individuals with mental illness. Compeer Homeless is here to help you tackle daily life challenges and be a source of support when you need a friend most.

The goals of the programs are to encourage a nurturing relationship of friendship and support; to establish a sense of confidence in coping with the complexities of everyday life; to bring forth unique talents and abilities through social connection or activities; to ignite a sense of awareness and understanding about mental illness through involvement in community activities; and to the prevent re-hospitalization of the consumers in the program.

Compeer Calling 

Compeer's Telephone Support Service. People requesting Compeer Calling receive a friendly and supportive weekly telephone call from a Compeer volunteer/staff. For some, Compeer Calling is used as an interim support. Compeer Calling can provide friendship while a client is on the waiting list for a one-to-one match. For other clients, this friendly, supportive telephone visit may be their Compeer service of choice. The primary role of the Compeer Calling Volunteer/staff or Compeer Caller is to share friendship and assist with the development of social and/or communication skills.

Compeer Calling is a Partnership

  • Compeer Calling is a partnership between the referred person, volunteer/staff, referring professional, and the Community Engagement and Social Programs Supervisor. Compeer Calling may be an interim service, or it may be the service of choice for the individual and their only Compeer service. Volunteers and staff are trained, screened and matched with participants. A mental health professional must still be involved in Compeer Calling similar to any other Compeer match. When deemed necessary, the mental health professional may speak directly to the volunteer/staff. Copies of the monthly updates will be shared with the mental health professional. It is anticipated that persons receiving Compeer Calling may have the opportunity to participate in social/recreational Compeer sponsored activities.

Compeer FAQs

Q: What is the Compeer Program?

A. The word “Compeer” is in the dictionary. It means an equal, a peer. Loneliness, fear and loss of self-esteem are universal experiences – but can be more intense in those with a mental health disorder. Compeer is a nonprofit organization that offers a variety of opportunities for participation in social activities and to be matched with a volunteer/staff in a one-to- one friendship.

Q: Who are Compeer volunteer/staff?

A. Compeer volunteer/staff are individuals of all ages, walks of life, races and religious affiliation who enjoy companionship and helping people. Many of them have had experiences with loneliness and difficult times in their own lives, which enables them to bring a special understanding to the Compeer friendship. Volunteer/staffs are screened through background checks and interviews, trained and matched by Compeer staff and the referring mental health professional. The Compeer volunteer/staff is a friend and mentor not a mental health professional.

Q: What do volunteer/staff and friends do together?

A. In Compeer 1:1 friendship, Compeer volunteer/staffs and friends agree to get together for 4 hours a month for one year to participate in activities they both enjoy. This gives both individuals an opportunity to learn from each other and share new experiences. The choice of activities is varied and depends upon a mutual agreement of activity, considering expenses and transportation. As in all friendships, both friends are expected to pay for their own expenses. That is why it is important to have a frank discussion about the type of activities to be pursued.

Compeer Resources and Referrals

If you'd like to learn more about MHA's Compeer or Compeer Homeless Program, contact Jessica Welsh, Community Engagement and Social Programs Supervisor at 845-342-1000 ext.1258 or via email at

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