Wow, what a year it’s been!
First and foremost, THANK YOU for being an essential supporter of our efforts to comfort, assist, and transition chronically unsheltered people out of homelessness. Whether you are supporting us through in-kind donations of services or supplies, or through financial contributions, you are VITAL to our existence and our ability to serve as essential workers. We are an extension of your kindness!
In this review, we’ll give you both statistics and deep background of what your support accomplishes.
How David is getting his groove back – Streets To Homes in action
David was born and raised in Salinas. He grew up surrounded by drug use within his family and at the age of 13, David was introduced to heroin. For about 40 years he has battled with his addiction to heroin and has been chronically homeless for about 20 years. September 18, 2018, David was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street. The impact of the vehicle resulted in a total of 42 broken bones which included his neck and back. David was in a coma for a short period and when he woke up, he was paralyzed. Dr. Reddy did amazing work on David
throughout his eight and a half month stay at Natividad Medical Center. David endured numerous surgeries which left him in a wheelchair with his right leg amputated at the femur bone.
When released from the hospital, he had no choice but to return to Chinatown. In December 2019, David visited Natividad complaining of pain and discomfort in this amputation. When he was released in mid-January 2020, he was stripped of his previous pain medications and his catheter. He voiced his concern of relapsing. His concerns were dismissed, and David began using heroin again.
David requested Dorothy’s Place services in January 2020. At that time, he slept on the pavement across from the Streets To Homes office. His back injury and nerve damage left him incontinent and reeked of urine. He was very embarrassed by that. David had no vital documents, no contact information, and no previous assistance. To our surprise, David was not already receiving disability benefits – he had no income. He was in constant pain that he numbed with heroin. When he used, it left him unaware and incoherent for long periods of time, during which his few possessions were stolen. His Streets To Homes social worker helped him apply for Social Security Disability, but the turning point was when David was allowed a motel room through Project Roomkey. From there, he could get good sleep, keep medical appointments, and learn to function without heroin. Shortly thereafter, he received his disability award, and with his new income, qualified for a new studio apartment in Moon Gate Plaza. He moved in on June 30.
Since David’s transition from the streets to his own apartment, his objectives are to improve his health and take steps to create a fuller life for himself. He now engages in physical therapy and is focusing on maintaining his wellbeing. David also made the decision to connect to Community Human Services and began his Methadone treatment. His goals are to get out of his wheelchair and walk with the assistance of his prosthetic leg, and eventually be free of his addiction completely.
Never in our history have essential services like restrooms, showers, clean clothing, mail and cell phone charging been more important. These services are not easy to deliver in our small Drop-In Center, especially considering the growing size of the encampment here in Chinatown, and the fact that people come from all over to the Drop-In Center to get assistance through our Bridge Project (preparation for social work). Not to mention the social distancing requirements inside.
We provided every single person who has come to our door with a meal or an emergency food bag! Thanksgiving Day, although different, was festive, joyful and the Feast was abundant!! That was our Kitchen Miracle for 2020!!
House of Peace 2020
29 people transitionally housed in two Salinas locations
3 assisted into permanent housing
Most come to the program with addiction issues
Most help each other like family
House of Peace Transitional Living Center and why companion animals make a difference: Chiquito
Living in his van behind a big box store in west Salinas, Richard Ferris wasn’t looking for a companion. He was doing OK by the current standards of homelessness – he had a vehicle that was livable, he had a “safe spot” behind the store, and he was able to manage his chronic back pain with the quality medical care provided by dedicated doctors in Salinas. Of course, he always wanted to have a home, to live indoors, but he was doing alright by the standard we have come to accept in Salinas, and across the U.S., where people are living outside, on the street. We seem to accept it as a fact of life.
Richard was working for a dear friend who is disabled. He was helping with chores and tasks around her house. His friend has diabetes and is on dialysis. Her health was getting worse and it was becoming increasingly difficult for her to care for her little dog, a Chihuahua named Chiquito. He was loved but he wasn’t getting the attention and care he deserved. She needed to find him a new home – and there was Richard, kind, helpful, responsible. Richard sensed that Chiquito, a young 12 years old, knew it was time to move on. So, Chiquito got into the van with Richard and began the adventure of his life.
For Chiquito, it wasn’t too bad. It was difficult for Richard, though. He is a native of the area, grew up in Carmel Valley, and worked for many years in manufacturing. He been a plant manager and has a wide range of skills (he also maintains and repairs slot machines) and used his knowledge to land a job in Sand City manufacturing ink cartridges. “I’ve had a lot of really good jobs,” said Richard. However, he developed medical problems, degenerative bone disease in his back, he has had two strokes, and that forced him to leave the workforce. “I’m a good worker, and when I work, I prove that I want the job by putting in long days and sometimes working seven days a week.” After years of struggling with his back and seven surgeries, Richard wound up, at age 63, living in his van with Chiquito. Richard credits Chiquito for his motivation to get housed.
When the van finally broke down and Richard was unable to pay to repair it, he had a choice. He could join the others who are living in tents on the street, in vacant lots, and along the train tracks, but instead, Richard and Chiquito asked for housing assistance at Dorothy’s Place. House of Peace Transitional Residence, located upstairs at Dorothy’s Place, accepted Richard and Chiquito into the program. They have a room in the peaceful and comfortable residence. They have support and guidance from the staff, and they have a goal. The staff knows how important Chiquito is to Richard and are supporting Richard as he applies for housing and takes care of his medical needs. Richard would like to live where it is peaceful and where there are trees. Chiquito says that’s just fine.