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When a debilitating case of meningitis rendered Gina blind, her whole life changed. Unable to cope with the added pressures of their life, her husband became depressed and turned to drugs. Eventually, he abandoned the family, devastating Gina and their children.
With her disability, Gina couldn’t find work or pay rent, and the family became homeless for several months before being referred to LA Family Housing, where they finally found relief.
Maggie and her boys experienced homelessness for nearly two years before finding help. The instability of bouncing from friends’ homes to motels affected the entire family, especially her son Ilan’s struggle with autism and ADHD.
At LA Family Housing, Maggie was given a fresh start.
“We spent months sleeping in an office space because that was all I could afford to rent. I had to take showers at the gym, and my boys used a friend’s place.”
When his wife’s alcoholism grew worse, Alpha often had to miss work to take care of his two boys. Eventually, with no steady income, Alpha and his sons became homeless. They slept in the car for a while, then on friends’ couches, and then in an unused office space.
They managed like that for a year, but Alpha was running out of options. Finally, he found LAFH.
“It was the first glimmer of hope I’d had in a long time.”
Ashley and Raneighla
“I thought my past was behind me, that I had overcome my hardships. I didn’t see it coming when the abuse started all over again.”
Growing up, Ashley never had a feeling of safety or permanence. She suffered abuse from her father and was then raised in the foster care system. As a teenager, she left home to make it on her own, even taking jobs as a stripper. She experienced many setbacks, including time in jail, but she eventually found her footing.
“I grew up in a home of addicts. It was all I knew.” Billy was raised by a single mom with a drug addiction.
Unfortunately, Billy was also prone to addiction, and despite his desire to stay clean for his girlfriend, Merle, and his daughter, his drug abuse sometimes won over — eventually getting him fired from his job. This left Billy shattered and his family homeless.
Billy knew it was time for a real change. “I’m glad we found this place. Other places wouldn’t help us because we weren’t married.”
Julius and Elijah
“I lost my dog. I lost my car. I lost everything except, thankfully, my son.”
As a veteran with a steady job, Julius never imagined that he’d be homeless, let alone a single father. But when his girlfriend’s mental health disorder became a risk to the safety of their newborn son, Julius took a leave of absence from his job and assumed full custody of Elijah.
Ever since I was little, my family has experienced homelessness.
It was a very stressful time, and we were always worried about where we would sleep each night. Our family had to be separated, and we bounced from shelter to shelter.
When we came to LA Family Housing, I was 9 years old. It finally felt like home.
For once we felt established and safe.
My mom began to have a hopeful and positive outlook. I began to participate in activities, like acting, dance, sewing class, and Girl Scouts… all led by amazing volunteers.
The program, along with the staff here, became a part of my life that will never be forgotten. It didn’t feel like they were just doing their job.
It felt like home.
My family has been in their own home for the last three years, and we couldn’t be happier. We love to watch movies and play games together. We finally feel normal.
"I made bad choices. I was always looking for the easier way, the quicker way." Greg had a loving family and owned two homes. Alcoholism and drug addiction slowly consumed him. His only home soon became a bench in North Hollywood Park. For five years, Greg toiled on the streets. He became resigned to the fact that he’d never see his two grown children again.
Greg tried treatment programs with limited success. In 2008, however, something clicked. “I got tired of sleeping in the rain.” Even more, he missed his family. He entered treatment at People In Progress, an LAFH service partner, and completed a six-month recovery stay. From there, he secured temporary housing placement at LAFH’s Trudy & Norman Louis Valley Shelter, where he stayed sober, began building his income, and worked to find a supportive permanent home.
I changed my whole way of thinking at LAFH. They work with you and give you respect. They encourage you. I’m ready for a nice little place, even one room. Just a place to call home.
The Fontes Family
Christina remembers two years ago when her 8-year-old son, Randy, asked, “Mom, when are we gonna get a home?” At the time, the Fontes family was sleeping in the back of their rusted '92 Ford Explorer in a Ralph's parking lot. It was around the same time that a new sign appeared in front of their truck: No Overnight Parking.
Since Christina and her husband Carlos lost their jobs in late 2008, the Fonteses were homeless. They had tried shelters that could only accommodate single parent families, but the kids, Randy and 11-year-old Cassandra, insisted on the flatbed over the cot to keep their family together. Forced from their temporary parking space, the Fonteses found refuge in a family shelter on Skid Row. The neighborhood was too rough for the children, though, and once a unit became available at Comunidad Cesar Chavez, LAFH's emergency family shelter in Boyle Heights, “a whole new world opened up for us.”
Once stabilized at LAFH, Randy began earning straight As in the fourth grade and took a lead role in Student Council at Korenstein Elementary.
In The News
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Since 1983, LA FamilyHousing has met our promise to end homelessness in thousands of people’s lives. With an effective mix of crisis housing, supportive services, rapid re-housing, and long-term affordable housing, LAFH helped more than 5,000 people in 2014 alone. It’s no longer enough.
The Campus at LA Family Housing promises more.
From Riverbed to Home - LA TIMES
From riverbed to home -After L.A. cleared out homeless camps, here's how one agency helped some Tujunga Wash dwellers rebound
After a decade in the riverbed, Dave Curry was ready to try living under a roof.
With the help of a San Fernando Valley housing agency, Curry got a Section 8 voucher and went looking for an apartment.
He was a few weeks into his search when his campsite in Tujunga Wash was demolished. Curry was one of about 30 men and women uprooted last fall in a series of cleanups conducted by the city of Los Angeles and nearby residents.
A few slipped back into the wash. But most dispersed, leaving no record of where they went or how their lives changed.
It's a story that was repeated nearly 1,000 times last year, on scales large and small: Tents and shopping carts appear, residents complain, sanitation crews arrive to clear away the camps. But where did the displaced people go?