Homelessness has many root causes and requires various solutions. Learn about some of our clients and their success stories.
Courtney came to SHELTER, Inc. as an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard, still serving in the reserves, with two young children. A domestic violence survivor, she was pretty disheartened with irregular work as a ride-share driver. While she has local family and stayed with them when she could, there were frequently times when she needed to protect her children from stress and stayed at hotels, and occasionally in the car when money ran out.
Courtney qualified for a Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) voucher and we found a house in Concord that fit her needs well. We were able to get her car fixed so she could continue to do her driving job, help her with some groceries, and purchased beds for her and the kids. She became stable enough again to apply for Active Duty with the Coast Guard and they accepted her back in a full-time status. She can now pay her housing, bills and child care.
Recently, Courtney’s case manager, Dan Helix ran into her while out shopping. She reports that she is doing very well now and said, “SHELTER, Inc. saved my life.” She is well on her way to experiencing more success and invited Dan to her recent Coast Guard promotion.
Meet HenryHenry was referred to SHELTER Solano as a young man who lacked discipline, and has been homeless on and off since 2011. His case manager helped him focus and gain control of his emotions and tendency to self-medicate. As he progressed through our program, our employment services improved his job readiness so that he could secure a good job with advancement opportunities.
Within a few weeks, Henry found that very job and began rising at 5 am to walk to work. Seeing his tenacity, donors contributed a bicycle to make his commute a little easier. Even with his history of chronic homelessness, and his ups and downs, Henry has maintained his employment and is making strides to self-sufficiency.
By the time Karol was officially diagnosed with COVID-19, she already feared she had the illness. Her body ached everywhere; she had no strength and needed help even to take a shower. Her cough was so bad she struggled for breath—made worse by her chronic asthma. Her husband’s symptoms were mild, but their doctor ordered the entire family to isolate for at least 14 days so that they would not spread the virus to others. With two young children and her brother-in-law, the family hunkered down in their two-bedroom Concord apartment. Catching COVID-19 was just another blow for the family. Before they got sick, the family was already struggling because Karol’s husband, Abe, had his landscaping job cut dramatically when the shelter-in-place orders were issued.
Worried how they would pay their rent and mounting bills, the family waited in lines at food pantries and schools to get food. Karol used up all of her canned goods a month into the shelter-in-place. She was sick, quarantined, and deciding between paying bills, rent, and feeding her family. She contacted Catholic Charities East Bay looking for resources, where she was referred to SHELTER, Inc.’s COVID-19 Hotline. Matched with a case manager, Karol’s family qualified for rental assistance and gift cards for food, which she calls “a miracle.”
Karol’s children do not understand why they have to stay inside or why their parents have been so ill. Their extended family members were afraid of catching the virus, and could only occasionally afford to leave food outside the family’s front door. The stress of not having necessities, paying bills, and being sick has been difficult, Karol said.
“It’s been very stressful,” Karol said. “I keep talking to the lord and praying. I was so sick, and I was just hoping that nothing would happen to me–I have little kids.”
Karol’s family is grateful for the assistance they received from SHELTER, Inc. While she is finally feeling better, her cough still lingers. Just recently, her husband received the news he could go back to work.
“I can’t even explain how much this help means to me,” she said. “It’s like having angels that helped me, and I don’t know how to thank you enough.”
Heidi was homeless, addicted to drugs, and unable to take care of her 10-year-old son. After learning she was pregnant, she enrolled in a recovery program and found faith. She began to believe that there was more for her life, and her children’s lives. With no money, job, and unable to stay with family, she arrived at SHELTER, Inc.’s family shelter in Martinez with her two children. There, Heidi says, she found support that allowed her to rebuild her life and she began to do “the work.”
Heidi took advantage of SHELTER, Inc.’s services to get herself back on the road to self-sufficiency.
“I worked with a case manager and came up with a plan to eliminate barriers that were holding me back from being successful,” said Heidi. “I will never forget all of the staff and volunteers at the shelter I hope they know how much they impacted my life and contributed to my success.”
With SHELTER, Inc.’s employment services, parenting classes, counseling, financial resources, housing search assistance, and support from her case manager, Heidi got a job and ultimately was able to get a home of her own.
“It was bittersweet when we finally were able to move out of the shelter and into our very own place,” said Heidi. “I will never forget that feeling of total accomplishment the day we moved. All of the hard work paid off and now with the support from SHELTER, Inc. and my recovery community I can continue to achieve my goals and to give my children the life that they deserve.”
Angelo came to the Mountain View Family Shelter in Martinez with his 6-year-old son AJ, after being in and out of the young boy’s life. At 30-years-old Angelo had made some bad choices and, after being homeless in Antioch, he broke the law and landed in jail. While in jail, he participated in groups to better himself, deal with anger, and found faith.
When he was released, he had no place to go and wanted to care for his son AJ who had been living with family. He “stepped up to the plate” to care for AJ, said his SHELTER, Inc. Case Manager Krishna C. The single dad was accepted into the shelter and began using various services connected through SHELTER Inc., such as parenting classes, employment services, and financial literacy programs.
Angelo obtained a job, enrolled AJ in school, and began saving for a home. After several months residing at the shelter, a SHELTER, Inc. housing and property specialist and a case manager worked with Angelo to help him find a place of his own. After nearly six months, Angelo and AJ officially moved into their own home. They were assisted with furniture and move-in help from the generous volunteers of the Walnut Creek United Methodist Church’s Extended Family program.