Home 1 is where Maisie lives. She was referred to us by Homeward Bound of Marin .
Maisie was born in San Rafael and is a single mom to an almost 4-year-old son, who is clearly the light of her life. Sadly, the father is not around. But Maisie is a strong young woman who is very determined to make this apartment into a proper home for her son.
Their previous apartment had constant bug problems and despite the landlord’s attempt to rid the building of the pests they would return, so consequently Maisie did not renew the lease and they ended up having to stay in a shelter. She is just so happy and grateful to have a lovely, clean apartment.
Maisie has signed her son up for a preschool that is within walking distance of the apartment, which will enable her to continue with her college classes. At last she can look forward to a life of normalcy and stability.
Maisie opened the front door and stared in disbelief at her newly furnished home. Usually chatty and engaging, she grew quieter and visibly overcome as she explored her new spaces. ‘It’s SO pretty!!’ she managed. ‘As you asked for! ‘ laughed the volunteers!!
Maisie looked around at her new outdoor table and chairs, her son’s new ‘Batman‘ themed bedroom, and the full length mirror in her bedroom ( another request fulfilled!) and beamed happily as she sat on her new leather sofa. ‘I had no idea that you were going to do…..everything! I can’t believe it!’
Robert lives in Home 2 and was referred to us by Marin Housing Authority.
He is 75, born in East Chicago, Indiana but grew up in Sacramento. He also lived in Wisconsin and Illinois during his two marriages. He has two children.
He was drafted in the 1970s as an Army medic and did his service in Germany. After the Vietnam War, he went to art school at Cal State in Sacramento.
A heart attack four years ago slowed him down from his many jobs: as a truck driver, dishwasher, taxi driver, grocery store clerk, etc. He spent the last several years living in a garage and then on the streets, in Novato and San Rafael.
He is grateful for the help he has received at Ritter Center and St. Vincent de Paul Society. Nearly a year ago, a fellow vet led him to New Beginnings, where he received the shelter and social services that enabled him to get his first “home” in many years.
Arriving at his newly decorated and furnished apartment, Robert was stunned. He walked from one area to another, admiring everything. He said, "I've never had a home like this, except of course with my parents. It's breathtaking."
Now he has space to work on his paintings and drawings—interests he pursued in college 50 years ago—before his military service. The apartment offers exactly the right, south-facing sunny exposure ideal for art creation. 🙂
Sarah, born and raised in Marin, is the 26-year-old single mom of a cheerful 3-year-old boy.
Finding housing and making ends meet has been almost impossible for her, especially with an absentee dad. Over the last few years, she has couch-surfed with no place to call home. This apartment is the first time she has ever had her own place to share with her son.
Sarah has worked in childcare at a drug and alcohol center and aspires to go into counseling to help others.
When they returned to their apartment, Sarah was blown away. "Oh my gosh I absolutely love it! This is crazy—I had no idea that you guys we're going to do all of this. It is so much more amazing than I ever could have imagined!
I never thought my son and I would have a home like this! I didn't even want people to come inside before but now I can't wait to have my family and guests come over.
Thank you so so much!!! I don't even know how to express my appreciation in a big enough way."
Ernestina lives in Home 4 with her 17-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter. She was referred to us by North Marin Community Services.
The family was living in one bedroom of a house, which was leased to them; they rented out the other bedroom.
When all three in the family caught COVID, they were forced to move out for six months. When they returned at 10:00 pm one night, the renter denied them entry, saying the place wasn’t theirs. All nearby shelters were full. they weren't able to get the police or anyone else to intervene. A friend allowed them to sleep on the living room floor until they were able to find a new home.
Before they were displaced, Ernestina had a steady job as an at-home caregiver. Now that the family finally has a place to live, she has once again started a caregiving job. She was in tears when she heard that Welcoming Home would be able to help her.
The pictures really say it all for this family’s return to their home. As you can see, family and volunteers alike were overwhelmed.
Ernestina kept saying thank you over and over again. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Her eight-year-old daughter loved her new bed, burying her head in the new, soft donated blanket. Her teen-aged son walked into his new “man cave,” and pronounced, “This is my house.” Just as we were about to leave, he asked “How much does all this cost?” When we told him it was a gift, his jaw dropped .
Thank you to all the donors who gave this family a beautiful home from which they can make a fresh start.