Gilbert was born in East Los Angeles, and lived in the area almost his entire life. He had a successful life, working in the fashion industry in Beverly Hills for names like Barneys and Saks 5th Ave. But he was living a double life. During the days he was a high-end fashion business man, and at nights he was sleeping on the streets. It all started after the death of a loved one. He fell into a depression and began drinking, and eventually he lost his job, his house, his friends, his family. He lost everything.
Finally Gilbert hit rock bottom. He decided to end his life – after shooting up 400 units of insulin and some pills, he jumped off a bridge. But Gilbert survived, and after he recovered in the hospital, he was offered an opportunity to go to rehab and a second chance. “I went in with the mentality of just to get off the streets, but it was life changing. Best decision of my life.” While in rehab, he was connected to LA Family Housing.
After a few months in transitional housing, LA Family Housing found Gilbert an opening at a supportive housing site. “Moving into my new home was the best thing in the world. The first thing I did was just lie on the bed. I knew it was time to turn my life around.”
Gilbert entered an educational program through LA Housing Works and just completed an internship at Tom Bradley Manor, where he helped homeless veterans to get off the street, get their Section 8, and get into housing.
Gilbert’s ultimate goal is to have a place of his own. “It’s a little frightening, but when that time comes, I’ll meet it head on. It’s been a while since I’ve said this, but I’m happy.”