Community Homeless Solutions has collected stories from survivors who have given their permission to share them here. We exercise caution so as not to expose a survivor’s full name and/or location if their abusive partner remains a threat. Calls, information request and clients are always confidential.
Carmen was wounded and scared when she arrived at the shelter. Six months earlier her common law husband had left her and her three children upon finding out she was pregnant with his child, her 4th. Fortunately, or so it seemed, Carmen’s mother (C.C.), with whom she’d been estranged, allowed Carmen and the kids to set up a living space in her garage, which only worked until C.C. decided to marry her new boyfriend so that he could stay in the country, and with that, Carmen and her kids were out to the streets. That’s when we met Carmen and her kids. Carmen responded to the compassionate, individualized case management and enthusiastically completed her personalized plan. After three months, with new skills, access to appropriate services, and a heart full of hope, Carmen was able to move from the shelter into a small apartment with her kids. On her exit evaluation, Carmen wrote: “This program gave my children and me a roof over our heads, as well as lots of emotional support when I needed it the most. Regina, Emilia and Ana, [Case Managers and DV advocate] have been like loving moms to me, something I didn’t really have in my life, and like grand moms to my children, something they’ve never experienced. I’ve received lots of knowledgeable information here and I’m grateful to have met some awesome women that care so much about their clients…. I am starting a new chapter in my life in the right direction. I want to thank this program so much for giving me this opportunity.”
In Her Own Words - client story
The program (although it feels more like a family than a program) saved my family's life. We had been homeless for nearly two years after fleeing the situation where my teenage daughter and I were no longer safe.
We found new places every night to park our car. In the morning I'd get her to school and me to my part-time job. We were all each other had. And while we were no longer being abused, I felt like such a failure, almost numb. Fighting back tears, I would watch her sleep at night. Through it all my daughter remained positive. She became my rock and my reason to live. After nearly two years of this, I met someone who told me about Shelter Outreach Plus (now Community Homeless Solutions) and I applied to the single mom housing program for domestic abuse survivors. The day I received the call that I was accepted changed me.
Homeward Bound has returned my dignity to me, given me the ability to not fail my child any longer, and a platform from which to get a new, higher paying job. With great delight, at the end of the day I have a key that opens a front door rather than merely a car door.
Catalina came into the shelter as a domestic violence victim. She was eight months pregnant. She reported that her significant other had beaten her while striking his foot in her abdomen during the end stage of her pregnancy. Catalina arrived with only her purse and documents that she needed. Upon arrival to the shelter, Catalina received basic essentials, toiletries, blankets for her and her child and therapy. After being at the shelter for only a week, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. However, Catalina had to have a C section due to the injuries sustained as a result of being victimized.
She gave birth without any support from her family. Soon after she returned from the hospital, the shelter staff started connecting her with many of the services available to her. She was provided presentations and support for victims of domestic violence. During this time, she learned to cope with her situation and gradually empowered herself by gaining self-confidence and self-esteem.
Therapy and support from staff allowed Catalina to move forward and regain her life once again. Three months after entering our shelter, Catalina transitioned into a permanent situation where she and her children rented their own apartment. In short, she no longer depends on her abuser for survival nor support. Catalina has learned to protect herself and her family as she continues to attend support groups. Her children too, were connected to receive therapeutic assistance through “First Five”, so they too could cope with the trauma left behind by the parent who once went out of control.
CENTRAL COAST RESPITE CENTER
Participant A was admitted to [referring hospital] after being brought in for a seizure and major head injury. Participant had been taking a walk, had the seizure, fell, hit his head against train tracks and lost consciousness. During his unconsciousness someone found him, robbed him of his wallet (which contained his work permit, ID, and money), called 911 and left him where he fell. The participant was a patient in the hospital for 3 weeks, 2 weeks of which he had no memory of who he was.
Participant A was referred and accepted into CCRC. During his stay at CCRC he completed his PT and OT sessions, visited with his HHC nurses, complied with medication intake, maintained a healthy diet and overall improved in health. Once he regained his strength and with the help of CCRC, Participant A was able to regain his previous employment with a local agricultural company. He was also assisted with obtaining stable housing near his work site. In addition to regaining his employment, obtaining stable housing, he was also connected with other social service benefits such as CalFresh and a stable MediCal PCP. Participant A is currently still employed and recently gained a promotion, renting his own apartment, and continues to be a productive member of our community.
CENTRAL COAST RESPITE CENTER
Participant B was admitted to [referring hospital] after being diagnosed with ventricular mural thrombosis in addition to other medical concerns. Participant was referred and accepted into CCRC. During her stay she visited with her HHC nurses, complied with medication intake, maintained a healthy diet and overall improved in health. Participant B disclosed that the reason for her current homelessness was due to the recent death of her twenty-four year old son to cancer, causing her to fall into depression. Throughout her stay she tried to maintain a positive outlook but sometimes struggled. Soon after regaining her strength and with the help of CCRC, Participant B began to seek employment. She was referred and accepted into Women-In-Transition (a transitional housing program operated under Community Homeless Solutions). Participant B transitioned from WIT into stable housing and continues to see her PCP and therapist. In addition, with her Master’s degree in Education, Participant B was able to obtain a teaching position at a local middle school. She provides updates every now and again and states she is happy and fulfilled with her new position. She continues to be a successful and productive member of our community.