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The Turner Family
For most of her life, Anita Turner has been fleeing from harm - the harm of growing up in a drug-addled home, the harm of abusive relationships, and the harm of living on the streets with three young children. As a child, Anita witnessed her mother succumb to drugs and wound up with little guidance or support as she became a parent herself.
Ray-Shawn, the oldest at 16, has dreams of being a music producer. TLC helped him pursue his passion by offering a computer lab and other technology that he never had access to on the streets.
By 23, Anita had three children and no education or employment. The family shuffled between motels, shelter programs, and the streets. It was not until Anita was referred to L.A. Family Housing that she finally stepped through a corridor to constancy and strength. In January 2008, Anita and her kids, Ray-Shawn, Anitra, and Antonio, moved into the Sydney M. Irmas Transitional Living Center (TLC), LAFH’s family shelter in North Hollywood.
"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.
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Street Outreach Initiative
LAFH Outreach Staff Eric Montoya (left) and Charles McCray (right) supported by volunteers Pattee Colvin (left), Peggy Ryder (middle) and Amelia Anderson (right).
L.A. Family Housing recently organized over 40 community members and nonprofit agencies to conduct a homeless registry in the Sunland Tujunga area.