Beyond Shelter has truly been a blessing to me and the kids. They have blessed us with a home, and with some new beds, and with the support we need for a better life. We had some hard times before getting our apartment, but now that we have it we are all so happy. I don’t know where we would be without Beyond Shelter’s help.
I was in a shelter for 2 years. During that time I went to school to become an elder care provider. I finished that then went to school again to become a CNA. Beyond Shelter has been there for us through good times and bad times. My worker was Fani and she knew how to keep my head up no matter what. Each time I came to Beyond Shelter a small or big miracle happened and that I'm very thankful for.
This review is for April O., a mother who received services at Beyond Shelter's Broadway Village I Neighborhood Resource Center in South Los Angeles. I was typing from April's paper form that she filled out and it put it under my own name.
My son and I moved to Los Angeles from Alabama. I had come to Los Angeles to visit a friend. I decided to stay in Los Angeles. I found employment but unfortunately the business I worked for went out of business. My son and I lived in different shelter until we ended up in one of the shelters on skid row. Another family that had been staying at the shelter told me about this great organization. I went to Beyond Shelter and that same day Beyond Shelter placed me in a hotel. My son and I no longer had to stay on skid row. Beyond shelter helped me find my own affordable permanent housing. Once I moved into my own apartment Beyond Shelter made sure I had all the necessities such as furniture, cleaning and cooking supplies. I was also assigned a case manager who would visit me at my home at least once per month to make sure that my son and I were stablizing. My case manager was always there for me anytime I had any questions or concerns. All the staff at Beyond Shelter always made me feel so welcomed and cared for. Every time I think about Beyond Shelter and what they have done for me and my son I get so happy.
I ended up living in my car with my 14 year old son and 3 year old baby. Both of my kids have special needs but my son does great in school. My baby needs care 24 hours a day. She has a disease like cerebral palsy and spina bifida. I have mental health issues myself but I have always worked. But due to my baby's needs, I ended up losing a lot of hours and work and then I lost my job. Because of our problems then we were involved with Childrens Services. I had to go to the Family Court and they told me to do numerus things. We went back many times. My mom was taking care of my baby but my son and me stayed in our car. It was scary and I thought we would be robbed so many times. The Judge told me to go to a certain place that would help us because we are Native Americans. But we are also black and the place would not believe us. I had to leave and change my baby's diaper on the street because they wouldn't accept us. Then we were walking back and saw Beyond Shelter sign on the street. I went in and they helped us all so much. They understood what we were going through and they listened to me. They did not look down on me because of our troubles. I was able to do what the Judge said with the Family Court and now I have another job and we have our own place. We went through race prejudice and things that nobody could ever explain. This was the most caring people ever and I will always be grate full to Beyond Shelter.
I had a very rough childhood. There were five of us, three girls and two boys, and my mother was a drug addict. After a lot of problems, including when I missed a lot of school to take care of my younger brothers and sisters, we stayed with my grandma for a while and she adopted two of us. But me and my sister anded up going into foster care when she was 15 and I was almost 16. We moved from foster home to foster home and things were often really bad, but eventually I graduated high school and was emancipated at age 18. I came back to LA to live with my cousin, but then I got pregnant with my baby. I had no job and no further education and I had no one to turn to. After the baby was born, my cousin kicked us out and for two months we started going to different places to stay at different relatives and friends, for a night or a few days at a time. I couldn't just think about me, I had to think first about my baby. Eventually I was sleeping on the floor at my boyfriend's mother's house and I thought this was no way for my baby to live. So I went down to a mission in Skid Row, because someone told me they could help you. When I went down there, it was scary. It was horrifying. I couldn't go in and take my baby into this place with all these homeless men hanging around. I fled back to a friend's house, but couldn't stay. So the next day I went back and this time they put us into a hotel shelter for a while. All during this time I was feeling worthless and depressed and I had really bad anxiety. I felt lost, like no one wanted to help. Then, they sent me to Beyond Shelter and I enrolled in their Housing First Program. I met my case worker who said right away that she would help me get a Section 8 and help me to find an apartment. I had never had an apartment of my own, but I always wanted to be independent. If I hadn't found Beyond Shelter, I don't know where I would be right now. I don't even know where my baby would be. Beyond Shelter gave me motivation. They called me, came to see me, always asked what my baby needed. They made me feel that they cared about me and that they would help me make my life better. If someone says they're going to help you but they don't put the effort out, it's another downfall. You say Damn, I'm failing again. But with my case manager being there for me, I seemed to have more get up and go. I moved in on February 7, 2008. It's a beautiful two-bedroom apartment, upstairs in a four-plex. I have a living room and dining room area, with a laundry room as well. I live in a really quiet neighborhood and safe environment for me and my daughter. My life has changed. Now that I have permanent housing, I feel more confident because I don't have to sit up at night and worry about where I'm going to sleep, what is my baby going to eat, does she have enough diapers, and whom can I depend on. I have a roof over me and my daughter's head, clothes on our backs, and food on the table. I've been able to work at different jobs over the past year. In the future, my dreams are to go to college and major in Interior Design and one day to have my own business. I want to send my daughter off to college as well, to pursue her dreams and goals.
I drank and used for approximately eleven years. I made my life and the life of my loved ones a complete hell. I lost everything, my children were taken away, my man left me, I lost my home along with all of our belongings and my family disowned me. As a result of all this I wound up sleeping in the park and doing whatever was necessary to survive. Eventually, I admitted myself to a recovery home for women, where I resided for five and a half months. I moved then to a sober-living facility where I commenced to get my life back. I got a job at a home health care agency. I followed the court orders in every way. I worked the 12-step program and I began to pray. The courts awarded me my children back. I was then referred to Beyond Shelter where I was assigned a caring and magnificent case manager who counseled me, helped me manage my monies and assisted me in housing. Today I have four years and three months clean and sober. I have a permanent full time job working in the entertainment industry, making a sufficient salary. I have a newly-furnished two bedroom apartment, and a good relationship with my family. I'm also engaged to be married. I am very grateful for my life today.