Director’s Corner : A Message from our Executive Director

“I served two tours of duty in the Air Force. I never thought my wife and I would be homeless.”

From Homeless to Hopeful

Two years ago, Patrick and Sandra had to move out of their Sunnyvale apartment when the rent went up more than 25 percent. For a while they tried staying in motels, but that was also too expensive, so eventually they set up camp in a local park in Sunnyvale. They officially became homeless on their wedding anniversary. “I served two tours of duty in the Air Force. I never thought my wife and I would be homeless,” said Patrick.

Patrick and Sandra had been living in the park for a month when Sunnyvale Community Services’ Case Manager David Hernandez approached them. Gradually, Patrick and Sandra trusted our staff. SCS provided food and sleeping bags and secured a motel voucher funded by Santa Clara County during the cold weather. With secure shelter, SCS helped the couple work on their goals to find stable housing. SCS linked them with Downtown Streets Team (DST). With DST helping the couple manage their appointments, SCS helped the couple find an affordable home. At every step, Patrick and Sandra consistently followed up with their case managers, filled out applications, went to meetings, and did everything they needed to do to secure an income and find a permanent home.

Thanks to Patrick’s veteran status, SCS enrolled the couple in the new Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program funded by the Veterans Administration. SCS staff was with them when they signed their lease and walked over the threshold of their new home.

Patrick and Sandra are still active with SCS. The couple signed up for the senior food program and “Challenge Diabetes,” a wrap-around program through a partnership with El Camino Hospital District and Second Harvest Food Bank that helps people like Patrick prevent or manage diabetes.

Now that Patrick and Sandra have a home, they are doing what they can to give back. “Now it’s time for me to help others—it’s their turn now—people who are just like me who need a little help,” he said.

We are grateful to the community for your continued support and generosity.

Marie Bernard
Executive Director, Sunnyvale Community Services
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