Serving Seniors’ Homeless Prevention Program connects homeless seniors with case managers who provide them with access to housing, meals and counseling during a 90-day transitional period. For ten years, their “housing first” model has successfully helped more than 1,000 seniors in the San Diego community.
One program participant, Mario Richardson, wrote a story about his experience (in his own words):
“I have joy in my heart for the beneficial life enhancements I have received at Serving Seniors. When I arrived, like so many other senior citizens, I was under the impression that only a meal was offered. However, I soon found out that the meals take a back seat to the services provided. At that time, I was staying in an environment that was unhealthy, physically and mentally.
Surprise Number One: I found out about the Homeless Prevention Program. I was up there that coming Thursday to enroll. After three months on the waiting list, I entered the Sara Francis Hotel. I did not have to fill out a lengthy application. And, just like that, I was in my own place.
With age comes health issues. Life changing health issues can be stressful. Surprise Number Two for me was Nurse Holstrom. Thanks to her, I did not have to travel to Mercy Hospital every two weeks to get my blood pressure checked. She also connected me with resources to help with my seizure disorder.
Surprise Number Three is Ms. Laura Stevens. She asked me if I would be a Peer Health Coach for a new Walking Program called Stepping Up for Fitness. Ms. Stevens said I could think about it. I replied, I can give you an answer now: that answer was yes. The Walking Program appears to be a success from the number of seniors enrolled.
It has been a breath of fresh air being within the walls of the Wellness Center. From the smiles of Ms. Karin at the front desk to the smiles of Theresa and Catherine in the meal area, it is smiles to smiles. There is a feeling of real hope and change. There are a whole host of physical and mental activities for cures of aging seniors. This place reminds me of the words of our 35th President and to paraphrase from the famous speech: Ask not what the Senior Wellness Center can do for you, but what you can do for the Senior Wellness Center.”