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New Beginnings at GHP

Desde La Base- Summer 2012

"Furthermore, the staff reiterated to Juan that they had full faith in his ability to find and maintain permanent housing."

The early 90s were not kind to former         Guadalupe Homeless Project resident Juan.  On a day that forever changed the course of his life, he was badly beaten in an altercation with police.  The legacy of this experience was far-reaching.  Juan suffered permanent brain damage, and because of this disability has found it very difficult to maintain a job.  He has also moved in and out of the Guadalupe Homeless     Project for the past six years – always leaving in the hope that he could rebuild his life for good, and returning with the fear that his life might never change.

But at the shelter, says Program Director Raquel Roman, “we stress thathomelessness is not a way of life but, an emergency. “And so the last time Juan entered GHP, he was informed that he could stay, but only on the condition that he enroll in school.  Furthermore, the staff reiterated to Juan that they had full faith in his ability to find and maintain permanent housing.  Among the activities they encouraged him to do was resume one of his favorite pastimes – collecting cans.  Over the years that Juan stayed at GHP, staffrecognized that when engrossed in this particular task he is always focused, productive, and able to earn a steady income.  For his part, Juan was excited by the prospect.

Just two months ago, Juan transitioned out of the shelter and remains housed.  He continues to volunteer at GHP, and now lives with a friend in an apartment in North Hollywood. The income he generates by diligently collecting cans enables him to contribute to their monthly rent.  And yet, challenges still exist.  Juan, like so many of the other men at the shelter, is at the present time undocumented.  He is also fortunate to have a friend he can live with.  But for the vast majority of undocumented individuals, the simple act of finding an apartment is very difficult because many buildings will  simply not invite them to become renters. 

In light of this fact,   shelter staff members hope to someday provide permanent    supportive housing to men who are undocumented, disabled,  elderly, or terminally ill.  Roman states, “There are always opportunities fornew beginnings if you have the right support.”  And at GHP, the level of support that the program offers to those who are preparing to leave the shelter continually reaches new and inspiring heights.

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