January 30, 2024 3:03 PM
by Melinda Espinoza
This blog post is a collaboration with The People Concern.
Jeff's days at SAMOSHEL follow a steady routine: waking up at 7:30 a.m., attending meetings with his case manager, and engaging with friends before going to bed by 8 p.m. This structured life stands in stark contrast to his more than a decade of homelessness and addiction.
Reflecting on his past, Jeff shares, "I had a friend who passed away; he was killed by a drunk driver. We were sharing an apartment, and I couldn't continue the rent, so they threw me out." After more than 10 years living on the street, Jeff's journey took a positive turn when he secured a place to stay at SAMOSHEL, an interim housing site in Santa Monica funded by the city and operated by The People Concern.
“SAMOSHEL became a place for me to rebuild,” Jeff recalls. Empowered by the supportive community, he began attending SAMOSHEL’s community meetings and taking significant steps toward stability. “I started going to meetings with my case manager, Akiya, and it’s been good ever since. I’ve grown stronger with their support.”
The People Concern’s assistance went beyond shelter, helping Jeff access crucial services in Santa Monica. “I use Venice Family Clinic for my health. I get my food stamps. I had lost my disability benefits, but The People Concern at SAMOSHEL helped me get them back," he explains.
The People Concern worked with Jeff to find a place where he’d be comfortable living and that would meet his needs, which turned out to be Step Up on Second, a city-funded permanent supportive housing building on Second Street in Santa Monica. Akiya took Jeff to view Step Up’s available apartments and worked with him and the city to shift him from a Continuum of Care (CoC) housing voucher to a project-based voucher that could be used at the Step Up apartment.
Once Jeff’s unit is inspected and approved by the Santa Monica Housing Authority, he will move in and will continue to receive supportive services from the staff at Step Up.
Jeff’s upcoming move after a year and a half at SAMOSHEL marks a significant success in his journey. "I'm looking forward to having privacy. I can't wait for when they give me the keys and say 'it's yours,'” said Jeff.
Jeff says that he’s grateful for the support services he has received in Santa Monica. “Knowing that I am going to stay in Santa Monica is great because all my doctors are here, and all my contacts and friends are here.”
The familiar surroundings of Santa Monica offer more than just geographical stability; this connection to a community and resources he’s comfortable with is crucial for Jeff's ongoing journey toward stability and independence, reinforcing a sense of continuity and reliability in this new chapter of his life.
Jeff’s journey is one of myriad stories exemplifying the positive impact of trauma-informed permanent supportive housing programs and the critical role of compassionate intervention in rebuilding lives. Thank you to Jeff for being willing to share his story with us and you all.
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