Shelter Network helped Joaquin and Ivonne become self-sufficient while taking care of their growing family.
Joaquin, and Ivonne Lopez were renting an in-law unit and were forced to move after a quick sale of the home left them without notice. They temporarily moved in with family but again had to leave because their family's housing voucher was at risk. Joaquin's income wasn't enough to sustain rent for their own apartment. They entered Shelter Network's Family Crossroads in September and during their stay, they saved enough rent a room in a friend's house.
During their follow-up care, their case manager Kat helped Joaquin and Ivonne apply for a six-year County program called Moving to Work, which helps with expenses while the family trains for better employment. Joaquin and the family were accepted. Joaquin had started taking courses at Skyline to get his AA in Criminal Justice and is now working toward becoming a Crime Scene Investigator. Ivonne is studying to become an RN. Joaquin has also found a much higher paying job driving a school bus for the County. The following June, the family moved into a 2-bedroom townhouse in East Palo Alto.
Shelter Network supported Carol through a difficult family illness, relocation to California, and enabled her to secure work while ensuring that her family's health was well-managed.
Carol Rodriguez, a single mother, has been taking care of her developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Dalila, for years. Recently, when Dalila went into liver failure, Carol had to move her family to San Mateo to be closer to Dalila's medical team. In order to make the move, Carol had to sell her home in Utah. With the high cost of living on the Peninsula, the proceeds didn't go far, and Carol quickly ran out of money while Dalila continued to decline.
The family entered Shelter Network's Redwood Family House and after a week in the program, Dalila's health improved dramatically. Carol was able to focus on securing employment as an elder care provider. The family successfully transitioned into permanent housing and now has a two-bedroom apartment to call home. Carol continues to save money and has over $4,500 in the bank, the most she says she has ever saved in her life.
Shelter Network helped Gina gain self-sufficiency for herself and her children for the first time.
Gina Pauls and her children Sammy and Ruthie were living with her father in another county because she was not able to afford her own apartment. No longer able to live with her father, she moved to San Mateo to be closer to her partner and his family with the hope that she would be able to quickly find a job. After a long, unsuccessful employment search, they became homeless.
In September, the family was referred to Shelter Network's First Step for Families. While there, Gina decided that she needed to further her education so she could support her family in the future. She was very focused. She enrolled in classes to prepare her to take the test for her GED, and took classes in office and computer skills that would help her get a job as an office manager. In addition she utilized services that allowed her children to receive much needed dental care.
Gina and her family moved into a two-bedroom apartment in San Bruno in March and she received her GED in May.
Shelter Network helped Cynthia find the strength she needed during the tragic loss of her husband. You enabled her to go back to school, continue her own business, and support her son while he prepares for college.
Cynthia was running her own business selling life and health insurance in Oakland. Her son, Boueta, was awarded a scholarship to an excellent high school in East Palo Alto. Everything was going well until Cynthia's husband was tragically killed by a drunk driver in 2005, devastating both Cynthia and her son.
The death of her husband made it difficult to make rent payments and Cynthia and Boueta lost their housing just weeks before Christmas. They came to Shelter Network's Haven House and Cynthia immediately went back to school. She is currently attending Canada College and working towards a degree in Human Services. While attending classes, Cynthia continues to sell insurance and has started her own savings account.
Shelter Network created a safe place for Wanda to live after she was attacked outside of her apartment.
Wanda, a 56 year-old woman was living alone in an East Palo Alto apartment complex. A week prior to entering Shelter Network, Wanda was assaulted outside her apartment and received severe head injuries. An error in the police report left Wanda ineligible for victim's compensation. Since she felt scared and unhappy living in the place where she was attacked, she left and sought the help of Shelter Network.
After arriving at Shelter Network's Maple Street Shelter, she immediately established herself as a client with a positive attitude and a survivor mentality. She continued to work full-time at Safeway while she recovered from her injuries, and found a new home in a gated community in a neighborhood in East Palo Alto where she feels safer.
Wanda is currently appealing the decision to deny her victim's compensation and is participating in Shelter Network's Follow-Up Program.
Shelter Network inspired Michelle to overcome tremendous challenges, find employment, and provide for her disabled son and infant daughter.
Michelle Castaneda's first child, Tino, had an undiagnosed birth defect which caused toxins to build up in his little body triggering febrile seizures. By the time he was diagnosed, Tino was left a quadriplegic, mute, and temporarily blind.
During her second pregnancy, Michelle and her husband were renting a townhouse that went into foreclosure. Without notification they were forced to vacate the property and had no time to pack clothing, baby supplies, or their personal effects.
Homeless and seven months pregnant, Michelle and her husband had no where to go. They were referred to Shelter Network and because of Michelle's pregnancy were provided a hotel room until they could enter Shelter Network's First Step for Families program. Their baby daughter was born in December with complications similar to Tino's, but thankfully they were caught early. Other obligations took her husband away from the family, leaving Michelle as sole provider.
She quickly secured permanent housing, and found work as a security guard in the afternoon/evenings so she can care for her children during the day. Michelle is also working toward a degree in Criminology so she can become a Forensic Specialist.