Dean, who lives in Home 1, is a delightful, salt-of-the-earth kind of guy; the kind you feel you could be friends with just after talking with him for a bit. He was referred to us by Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa.
Dean used to have a successful auto repair business until COVID forced him to close it down. Since he was no longer able to support his family, his wife left taking their four children, and their savings with her. Since then, he has developed serious health issues, which make it difficult for him to walk.
Dean lived in a trailer on the street for quite a while until he was able to find a place in a shelter. He finally arranged for an apartment. For a while he had only mattress with the hand made quilt his mother made for him and a few very used pieces that were temporarily donated to him.
Dean is so happy and very grateful to have a lovely "new" home so that he can finally have his children come to visit.
Sheila lives in Home 2; she was also referred to us by Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa.
Imagine, with a Social Welfare degree from UC Berkeley, you had a successful career at a Dependency Treatment facility. You had a good life with your treasured dog and cat. Then, when your mother became ill, you moved to Sonoma County to take care of her and became a caregiver for others as well.
This was Sheila's life until her siblings took it all away. “It was terrifying,” she told us. They hacked into her bank account, got her illegally evicted, and took her Mom and pets to somewhere in Oregon (she hasn’t been able to find out where). She lost her job and all her property last December. She went through most of her savings paying to stay in hotels which, at times, weren’t safe or clean.
Finally, she was able to stay in safe parking for a month, which was better than the hotels. In the meantime, she worked with Catholic Charities to find a home.
Sheila walked into her newly furnished place, a huge smile spreading on her face. She sat in every chair in the living room. A generous donor had donated a beautiful, vintage secretary desk. "This reminds me of my grandmother," Samantha told us. "I lost everything that had reminded me of her; so this is very special." She was particularly tickled that her favorite color, blue, was used throughout.
Sheila is so looking forward to getting back to work as a caregiver and resuming her hobbies - art, music, and exercising.
Home 3 is where Maria and James live with their beautiful family: a 2- year-old boy and new baby son. They were also referred to us by Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa.
As a young couple, they found themselves renting for the first time from a landlord who was less than honest. She took advantage of their situation, requiring unpaid labor on the property in exchange for rent, but then she kept increasing the hours demanded, pulling James away from his normal paying jobs. Eventually, they found themselves in the Family Support Center shelter.
Showing exceptional organizational skills and motivation, Maria worked diligently to get her family into secured housing. They are ecstatic and hopeful. This apartment is their first real home as a family.
Maria and James unexpectedly welcomed their 2nd baby boy a few weeks early, just two days before the Welcoming event! They arrived home from the hospital shortly before the volunteers arrived so the family left to relax at her mother’s house while we transformed their empty apartment into a home.
Maria and James were overjoyed when they returned; they couldn't believe the change! They explored each room and were thrilled see all the surprises awaiting them.
The couple now have a bright outlook on life and are looking forward to what the future holds for them.