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Ever since I was little, my family has experienced homelessness.
It was a very stressful time, and we were always worried about where we would sleep each night. Our family had to be separated, and we bounced from shelter to shelter.
When we came to LA Family Housing, I was 9 years old. It finally felt like home.
For once we felt established and safe.
My mom began to have a hopeful and positive outlook. I began to participate in activities, like acting, dance, sewing class, and Girl Scouts… all led by amazing volunteers.
The program, along with the staff here, became a part of my life that will never be forgotten. It didn’t feel like they were just doing their job.
It felt like home.
My family has been in their own home for the last three years, and we couldn’t be happier. We love to watch movies and play games together. We finally feel normal.
"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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Celebration of Valley Shelter
Please help LA Family Housing celebrate the history and legacy of Trudy and Norman Louis Valley Shelter.
Since 1983, LA FamilyHousing has met our promise to end homelessness in thousands of people’s lives. With an effective mix of crisis housing, supportive services, rapid re-housing, and long-term affordable housing, LAFH helped more than 5,000 people in 2014 alone. It’s no longer enough.
The Campus at LA Family Housing promises more.