William was referred to us by Marin Housing Authority; he now lives in Home 1. Because of health issues, he became unable to work and ultimately became homeless for 10 years. Fortunately a friend helped him get back on his feet.
William has a great sense of humor; he kept us laughing each time we met him. He's also an artist; he enjoys making vibrant-colored pencil drawings that often have a hidden picture within a picture. He told us how he's been looking forward to having a solid roof over his head where he can watch nature from his balcony as he draws and paints.
He was married for 25 years; sadly his wife died recently. He shared that his favorite flowers are irises and sweet peas because they were her wedding bouquet.
Before coming to this area, William spent years in Montana working as a carpenter. The foreman wanted him to be the boss, but William said that he preferred to teach carpentry and other skills by example. He used to work at a farmers’ market, so he’s really into healthy eating and cooking.
Telma lives in Home #2. She was referred to us by North Marin Community Services. Telma is a mom to four children: Oscar, 16; Paulina, 14; Serena, 13; and Monica, 12. She is a strong force in her children’s lives after escaping domestic violence.
Housing instability was a constant struggle for this family. There were no relatives nearby to help them in this time of crisis. Fortunately, Gilead House (transitional housing in Novato) provided a home to the family for two years. With their help, Telma was given the opportunity to go to school and she jumped at it. She attended College of Marin, worked hard, earned a GED and became a Certified Medical Assistant. She is currently working full-time in the medical field.
Now, with the help of North Marin Community Services, she sees a strong path forward for herself and her children. Most importantly, she wants to provide a stable environment for them. The entire family is thrilled with a house to call their own after moving in on October 1st.
If you notice that many rooms have a special touch, it's because the lead volunteer for the home made drapes for many of the rooms by hand. We have the world's best volunteers!
Emma and her two children, Iris, 8 and Adam, 5, recently moved into their apartment - Home 3. They, too, were referred to us by North Marin Community Services. Having fled domestic violence three years ago, experiencing homelessness and sharing one room in a shelter, Emma said, " We now feel like butterflies spreading our wings."
Emma is strong, positive, hardworking and is currently studying biology as a full-time student. Her goal is to apply to nursing school next year. In addition, Emma is an advocate for other survivors of domestic violence.
The family enjoys reading, hiking, birdwatching and gardening. They already have plans for a container garden on their spacious patio! Adam is crazy about Sonic the Hedgehog and Iris loves Elsa from Frozen.
When the family arrived back to their transformed home they were overwhelmed, exclaiming "oh my gosh" over and over. Adam ran over to give one of our volunteers a big hug and Iris followed up with a sincere "Thank you!". Then she jumped into her beanbag chair and squealed "I feel like I'm swimming in the ocean!"
The family and volunteers were all in tears. Emma admitted that getting emotional was something she rarely did.
We'd like to give a special shout out to "ChemDry Cleaners" in Novato. They offered to clean the family's donated sofa for free! See a picture below of the cleaning underway.
North Marin Community Services also referred us to Jocelyn and her family, who live in Home 4. Born in San Francisco, Jocelyn went to high school in Marin. She has two daughters (13 and 11) and a son (9). Unmarried, she raised the children herself, renting rooms in friends’ homes for years and living in a motel for the past two and a half years. “The hardest part,” she says, “was trying to keep everything going for my children and my jobs with no home or car of my own.”
Jocelyn has worked at grocery stores and in retail, Goodwill, and quick-service restaurants. She says her current employer is like family to her. She views the two-story townhouse the family just moved into as the first step in her plan to complete college courses and study to become a lawyer. Her kids are so excited to have a home of their own at last.
Upon arriving home, the teens raced to their bedroom, each jumping with joy onto their beds; they'd had to share a bed in the motel for the past two years. Mom was speechless and beaming when she saw her own room.