Home #1: Felipe
Felipe was married with a family and had a well paying job as a baker when he was diagnosed with a disability. Soon after, his wife and family abandoned him since he could no longer be the breadwinner for a while. For a long time Felipe lived on the streets. Eventually he found a place in a Marin shelter. Most shelters have a time limit for residents, requiring them to find their own place after 6 to 12 months. However, Felipe’s shelter let him stay for 11 years because he offered to be the janitor in return for his housing. He was a great worker, highly respected by the shelter staff and residents. Finally, his case manager at Marin Housing Authority helped him to find the apartment in which he now lives. He has had numerous surgeries and is now doing much better. Once he settles in the apartment, his intention is to work as a baker once again.
With some key additions from our donors, Felipe's minimalist kitchen now provides plenty of storage space and an array of cooking aids. Being a cook and baker, he's thrilled to have such a well equipped kitchen all to himself.
Initially Felipe slept on the floor but right after our initial visit we were able to provide him with one of our 'starter kits' (including a new bed, pillows and linens). On Welcoming Day we returned with a donated bedside table, lamp and dresser.
Our volunteers really worked magic on this living/dining room with the lovely donated sofa, club chair, lamps, dining table, art and other room furnishings. Felipe was thrilled thanking us many times from the moment he entered the front door and saw his "new" home.
The patio pops after adding the bistro set...a great place to relax.
Home #2: Diana
Diane lives in Home 2; she, too, is disabled. She introduced us to her long-term companion—a cute, twelve-year old dog Oso. Unfortunately, Oso passed shortly afterwards and was not able to enjoy their new home. Diane has been on disability for 22 years. During most of that time she has never had a room to herself, sharing a room with others and even having to sleep on the top bunk of a bunk bed, which was hard for her to access. She last shared a room with two pedophiles and a drug addict, an untenable situation, which she eventually fled. Thanks to Ritter House and Homeward Bound, she now has a studio apartment all to herself. She left us a message on the evening of the Welcoming.“It’s so peaceful and lovely,” she told us, “You don’t know how happy I am. I never imagined it would be this nice”
In this studio apartment Diane started out with only a bed, lamp and some boxes for clothes. Our expert volunteers turned the small space into a comfy and colorful living / dining /sleeping area. (The sofa converts to a bed.) Note the cheery Welcome basket made by one of our volunteers.
Your donations fully equipped this little kitchen. Diane is delighted at the thought of preparing healthy meals here.
A couple of colorful paintings and new shower curtain really perked up the bathroom. The donated storage cabinets added much needed space.
Diana was overwhelmed when she came home to her new apartment......"Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It's so beautiful!.. This is one of the best things that has ever happened to me."
Home #3: Geoffrey
Geoffrey is a delightful man with a great sense of humor and upbeat personality in spite of a difficult past. Originally from Marin, he moved to the Southwest, serving in the Job Corps for a number of years. He returned to Marin for family reasons but was unable to find work and settle down. He moved from group homes to motels; in the last one he was robbed several times, so he left. Marin Housing Authority’s “Odyssey Program” helped him to find an apartment where he can make a fresh start. He is working on an Associate Arts degree, taking as many sound recording classes as he can. Once he completes his studies, he’ll go on to obtain a music production degree; his dream is to become a sound engineer. He is committed to the path he’s set for himself. “I’m going to do anything it takes to get there,” he told us. “And I know I’m going to make it.”
The bedroom now has places to store his favorite books; a cool, blue dresser for his clothes and — most importantly — a nice new bed to sleep in.
Thanks to great donors, Geoffrey now has a dining area where he can share meals with friends.
When we first met him, he expressed his dream of having an oriental rug. Like a miracle, one was found! The finished room gives him a place to relax and enjoy TV or read. We also set up a desk behind the sofa so that he can pursue his college studies.
From one generous donor we received not only a patio set but also a bike! "That's really a cool bike!" he said when he saw it.
Geoffrey’s reaction to his new home was heartfelt; he couldn’t believe the transformation. One of the volunteers even included some of his favorite sweets on this donated tray.
We were so touched when Geoffrey presented our volunteer team with roses from his sister’s home ... which we very much appreciated!
Home #4: Janine
Only in her thirties, Janine has been through enough tough experiences to last a lifetime. She's on disability and has not had a stable place to live for a very long while, having moved thirty times during the last 20 years! Among the places she lived were a couple where she was the victim of domestic abuse. Janine has struggled with a number of medical issues that have led to more than 10 hospitalizations, including a recent bout of cancer which was successfully treated. She loves animals and now volunteers caring for dogs. She had a pet sitting business but lost it as a result of the pandemic. Her plan is to re-open the business; a number of past clients have already reached out to re-engage her. Janine told us she is "so excited" about finally having a small place of her own after having to share rooms for so long.
Our volunteers converted a small, stark space into a fun kitchen / eating area combo. In addition to the utensils, dishes, etc., the addition of colorful paintings turned this into a homey apartment for Janine.
Janine had nothing other than clothes in her apartment when we first met her. We immediately arranged for a new mattress, sheets, pillows and other "Starter Kit" items. On Welcoming Day, the room was completed with an elegant comforter, dresser, nightstand and even a reading pillow.
In this empty studio space, a like-new sofa, upholstered rocking chair, wood furniture pieces, lamps and a lovely area rug created a warm and peaceful sanctuary for this lovely young woman.
A couple of sweet patio chairs and cushions perked up her patio.
Janine had a big smile on her face when she saw her “new” place. She wrote to us the next day, "I love how my apartment looks. The furniture is fantastic and all the extra touches are heart warming. You all are amazing! Now my place actually feels like a home."
Once again, our heartfelt thanks to all who helped to make these transformations happen brightening the outlooks of those who live there. They will never forget your kindness.
The Welcoming Home Team