Head shot of Heather Freinkel

Alameda County Health Care for the Homeless (ACHCH) recognizes colleagues, shelter, outreach and health care community partners, and grassroots community members who step forward on a daily and powerful way to be part of the collective effort to save lives, improve health, and end homelessness.

In January 2024, ACHCH announced the award recipients, including Homeless Action Center’s Outreach Managing Attorney Heather Freinkel.

Heather strives to remove barriers to services by meeting clients where they are at, visiting multiple encampments and other sites in Oakland each week, providing all the services that clients would have access to when visiting HAC’s drop-in centers at their West Oakland and South Berkeley offices. She provides benefits advocacy to make sure clients are accessing the income, health care, and food assistance programs for which they are eligible. Heather provides housing case management services, including moving clients into shelters and other temporary housing, helping them access the county’s list of permanent affordable housing opportunities, and getting them “document-ready” so they can move into housing. Heather works tirelessly to serve the community, as an ally, advocate, and champion for people experiencing homelessness.

The ACHCH G.G. Greenhouse Award is presented in honor of Gretel (G.G.) Greenhouse. G.G. was a true community hero, living a full life in struggle for justice, equity, and health. As a child she integrated schools, lived through a life-threatening illness, and used social work to change the world. In 1990, G.G. became the founder and director of Alameda County Health Care for the Homeless and contributed to its growth until her retirement twenty years later. With her passing in 2021, ACHCH decided to present the G.G. Greenhouse Community Hero Award each year in her name.