Clara is a single mom who lives in Home 1 with six children. She was referred to us by North Marin Community Services.
After losing her housing due to domestic violence, Clara and her family spent 2 years in an apartment without heat or a working stove. Like many single moms, she has struggled to juggle work, school, and childcare. Clara worked in security and is hoping to start a new job soon now that her youngest children are registered for school at their new location. Her two older daughters have been a great help with their four younger siblings.
Their new apartment is truly a fresh start for the entire family.
Clara and her family were thrilled and so grateful when they saw their transformed home.
She told us: "You guys are truly angels on earth. I appreciate everything. You're the best thing that happened to us in a long time!”
Home 2 is where Gus and Charlene live. They were referred to us by Homeward Bound of Marin.
Gus and Charlene met in the Bay Area and have been married for almost 20 years. After some difficult life experiences, they found themselves homeless and living in an encampment for 10 years.
Charlene is a trauma nurse and Gus is a talented mechanic and carpenter. Charlene’s goal is to work with a Marin non-profit to help other people in similar situations. She is planning to go back to school in January for counseling courses. Guy is busy with multiple projects, his ideal job would be to teach the younger generation repair and construction skills.
They are delighted to feel safe, to be together, and to have a roof over their heads!
As Gus walked through the rooms he said "I am blessed; Jesus has blessed me. I turned my life around several years ago and I’m not going back. This is the first time I’ve had a real home that I’m excited to come back to every night. I’ve got tears…"
Vera lives in Home 3 and was referred to us by Marin Community Clinics. She is a single Mom with a 3 year old son.
She had to move out of her previous apartment because one of her neighbors assaulted her. In addition, her prior partner, who had been in jail for abusing her was being released; she didn’t want him to find her in the old apartment.
Vera is very grateful for our help in getting her son settled into a comfortable home. She's now focused on settling in and getting her son in a daycare near their new place. She has a solid background in in food service and retail; once settled, she will get a job in one of those areas. She’s also been a model and dancer as side jobs and hopes to one day pursue a career in the fashion industry.
Vera came back home with her good friend, who videoed every inch of the "new" apartment so Vera could show her three-year-old son, who was spending the day with a relative. Vera was all smiles as she went from room to room. As you can see from the picture, she particularly loved her sparkly "diva" bedroom. She couldn't wait for her son to see his new bedroom, complete with Power Ranger comforter.
For the third year in a row, Gaby Federal, Jill Kantola and friends sponsored a Welcoming Home family. That means they funded the Starter Kits, brand new beds and extra movers needed to fully furnish an apartment that a formerly homeless family had just moved into. And, it means that they tapped their friends to donate the gently used furniture and household goods that the family needed, along with cash donations.
The family was single Mom, Brenda, and her daughter, aged 8 and son aged 4. Brenda had contended with domestic abuse for five years; finally, she had no choice but to flee with the two children, taking nothing with them except their clothing. The family was in hiding in an emergency shelter for quite some time before finding an apartment.
When Gaby, Jill and a couple of Welcoming Home volunteers first went to visit them, their home was totally empty. In fact, the children were not even allowed to stay with Brenda until Gaby and Jill provided them with brand new beds, which they did right away. Brenda texted, saying that she had a wonderful night’s sleep; the best that she’s had in forever. And even better, her kids were back with her, sleeping in their own comfy beds.
Brenda attended culinary school in SF and would love to be a chef one day. She was so grateful to finally have a place to call home — and in time for the holidays, too!
What a treat to see Brenda and her adorable kids come back to their "new" home. Her little daughter kept jumping up and down, hugging her Mom and saying “I am so happy” over and over and over again. She especially loved her little sleeping corner, and also the desk in the living room - a place to do homework. When she noticed there was a carpet in her room, she immediately took her shoes off -- so sweet.
Brenda couldn’t believe her eyes; "This is not my living room,” “this is not my bedroom,” she said. She was so glad to have a nice dining table where she could have meals with her kids. She was over the moon and so very appreciative for how Gaby, Jill and their friends had transformed her apartment She sent a text the
next day with a heart on it saying “THANK YOU - OUR HOME IS NOW A HOME.” She also sent a photo of her four-year-old son showing off his new shark shoes, which Gaby's daughter had given him.