Ronnie, an L.A. native, has always had a passion for technology. After serving in the Air Force, the self-made IT engineer turned her passion into a career. Perfecting her craft for over 30 years, Ronnie dreamed of passing on her acquired knowledge to others. But when Cathy, her life partner of thirty-three years, became ill, she was faced with the reality of sacrifice, health issues, money concerns, unemployment, and eventually homelessness.
Ronnie moved around a lot in her early adult years, but came back home to California to care for Cathy’s father and his children. With three children now under her care, Ronnie stepped into the motherly role, guidance which she was deprived when she lost her mother at the age of 16.
Shortly after Cathy’s father’s death, Cathy too became ill and balancing work with the care of her partner three children was more than she could handle. Ronnie had to choose: earn an income or care for her family. Ronnie gave up her job to be a full-time caregiver, a decision that later saved Cathy's life.
Shortly after Ronnie became unemployed, Cathy was rushed to the hospital with heart complications. Ronnie was the glue holding the family together during this difficult time. Over the course of treatments and medical bills, other responsibilities began to pile up. Soon, Ronnie and her family found themselves homeless.
An employee at Olive View Hospital, Cathy’s treatment center, recommended LAFH as a resource. After going through the intake process, Ronnie found comfort within the (former) Valley Shelter* walls. During her stay, Ronnie joined a nearby church which was formative as she entered the next phase of her life. It was through the church that she learned that “when starting anything, first you must find a purpose with what you are doing.”
Without missing a beat, Ronnie began volunteering in order to give back to her community. Every Tuesday and Thursday she serves food in the same quarters she once lived in. Ronnie introduced her fellow members of her church to volunteer as well.
When asked why she continues to volunteer, Ronnie commented that “the folks didn’t ask to be homeless.” Ronnie finds comfort in talking with her former neighbors from Valley Shelter. Seeing the positive progress that her friends make while volunteering adds to her continued purpose for giving back to her community.
The future looks bright for Ronnie, and she hopes to start a program with LAFH and Bridge Housing that teaches participants about financial responsibility, computers, and eventually app development. With the help of her church and the resources provided by LAFH, Ronnie is back on her feet making a difference in the world.
*In 2016, Valley Shelter was torn down, and in 2018 reopened as The Fiesta Apartments, supportive housing for 49 formerly homeless individuals.