Jay Vidal, Digital Media Specialist, Interfaith Community Services
Shawn was in a difficult position in life. Living on the streets of Oceanside, she had to make a life-threatening decision: pay for her medical expenses or a roof over her head.
For anyone, a decision like this would be undoubtedly draining. Already overwhelmed by the harsh realities of homelessness, Shawn’s physical health and overall wellness worsened every day. Her struggles were daunting and it seemed as though there was no way out.
As fate would have it, Officer Ferry from the City of Oceanside Police Department Homeless Outreach Team received a distress call one morning. In a desperate cry for help, Shawn had found herself in a moment of weakness. She had threatened to take her own life. Officer Ferry responded to the call and was promptly directed to her for further action. In that moment, her recovery began.
Through a partnership between Interfaith Community Services and local police departments, Officer Ferry was able to connect Shawn with Anna, a case manager at Interfaith. Despite the long road ahead, Anna was determined to help Shawn obtain housing of her own. While working on securing permanent housing, she was able to place Shawn on the waitlist for Interfaith’s Haven House Year-Round Emergency Shelter.
When a bed became available, Interfaith provided Shawn with transportation to Haven House; a simple task for most, but no easy ordeal for someone thirty miles away with no car or money. Yet, when she arrived, the smile of hope across her face told us her darkest days were behind her.
During her stay at Haven House, Shawn’s wellbeing improved significantly. She was finally able to receive a breathing machine for her asthma and protect her skin from daily sun exposure. She received assistance with her medical forms and was able to secure Rental Assistance for a deposit through Interfaith’s Offering Hope in Housing program.
Today, she lives in stable, long-term housing, pays her own rent, and lives a happy and secure life; all while helping guide those who are currently experiencing the same struggles she overcame.
After being chronically homeless for 15 years, Shawn was finally able to say, “Now I’m healthier. I look healthier. I feel healthier… I paid my rent. I paid my electric bill. I finally did that all myself.”
Interfaith Community Services is incredibly proud to be part of Shawn’s story.