Success Stories

Putting Family First

In January, one of our client’s children fell ill, so she began to miss hours at work in order to care for him. When she took her child to the doctor, he recommended surgery. Thankfully, the procedure was a success and the child was able to return home and then to school after one week. However, time off caring for her son made it impossible for her to cover the rent and living expenses for her family, and she received a utility shut off notice. She was worried that if the utilities were shut off, she would be unable to provide the necessary aftercare her child needed to recover. We were able to help her pay the rent and utilities so that she could focus on keeping her family healthy and getting back to work.


“I’m worried for my safety”

The mother and her children had fled their home. One beating too many from her husband finally compelled her to seek safety at a domestic violence shelter. The husband vandalized her car, taking bolts off the wheels and damaging the car brakes. Thankfully she and her children were not hurt. She needed the car to get to work and drive her children to school. After being referred to SCS, she met with a caseworker, who helped her with a monthly budget, and arranged for car repairs so that she and her children have a safe vehicle. “Everyone has been so nice and kind. Thank you!”


Senior Who Became Homeless after Loss of Spouse

An 81-year-old woman had been homeless since December 2010. She lost her home after her husband passed away because she could no longer afford to pay the rent on her own. She was staying at a Motel 6 and did not have a phone. She was still grieving the loss of her husband and her home. A family member stole money from her bank account, and she felt truly alone. The SCS caseworker helped her submit applications for senior housing programs and apartments, and gave her information on grief counseling and senior resources. SCS gave her bus passes along with food that she could eat in her motel room.


Two Full-time Jobs and a Home

High rents throughout Silicon Valley means that it takes more than one minimum wage job to afford a place to live, even a tiny apartment. A family whose husband was working two full-time minimum wage jobs came to us for help with the deposit on their first home, a modest trailer for a family of four. With one-time rental deposit assistance, this family was able to move out of a motel and into a permanent home. The mother was teary-eyed with gratitude and tremendously relieved that her children could have their own beds and feel safe again.


Family of 4 with Unexpected Loss of Wages

A husband and wife (parents of a daughter, age 5 and son, age 10) both work for the same family as a handyman and housekeeper, respectively. They found themselves suddenly without income when their employer left the country for a month for medical reasons, leaving them without an income. With the help of the Housing Industry Foundation, who paid $1,000, SCS paid $320, and the client paid the remaining balance of $600 to cover the rent for the month. This assistance means the family can remain housed until the employer returns to the country.


Father and Son—Sticking Together

A single father of a five year-old boy lost his job in July and has been working hard to find a new job ever since. While this was happening his medical bills were mounting with his own care as well as his son’s. Sunnyvale Community Services was able to help this father get his MediCal reinstated so that his medical bills were covered. In addition, we enrolled him in our food program and gave his son a nice new backpack with school supplies along with a Payless Shoes voucher so that his son could start kindergarten with everything he needed. Our help has enabled this dedicated father to focus on his job search without worrying about staying healthy and providing food for his son.


A Bump in the Road

The word, “cancer,” strikes fear in anyone, rich or poor. Our client was a hard-working housecleaner suddenly diagnosed with cancer and told she needed a complete hysterectomy and 6 weeks to recover. Though she lived very frugally, she was unable to cover her $600/month rent if she was not actively working. After reviewing her strong work history, SCS decided to help her with two months’ rent so that she could remain in her home, getting the medical attention she needed, which allowed her to return to work healthy and strong.


The Stresses of Living on a Fixed Income

Seniors living on a fixed income are especially at risk when circumstances happen that are beyond their control. A Sunnyvale senior came to us when her rent unexpectedly increased by $370/month, more than she could handle. Already on a waiting list for senior housing outside of Sunnyvale, she needed help during the interim. We were able to assist her with one month’s rent—enough time for her to get into the new, less expensive housing. Although she had to move out of Sunnyvale, she is now able to remain self-sufficient due to the lower rent.


On the Road to a Better Life

A man who is homeless and living in his car needed help repairing his car. He had been homeless for over a year, and used up his savings. He had been looking for work but needed the car to get to job opportunities. SCS contacted a local Sunnyvale auto repair shop to estimate the costs to get the car in working order. Thanks to donations from our community, we were able to get the car repaired. The client was enrolled in our food program and received emergency food, toiletries and referrals to job training programs, shelters, and hot meals nearby. His car, which is still his only “home” is safe and drivable.


Partnering to Make a Difference

One of our closest partner agencies is Downtown Streets Team, which helps homeless people gain housing through the dignity of work. A recent graduate of their outstanding program is continuing to give back, acting as a peer mentor to other “Team” members, in addition to holding a full-time job. This client came to us recently asking for assistance with her deposit for her new studio. SCS was happy to give her the deposit and first month’s rent, and congratulated her on a job well done!


Predatory Payday Loans a Bad Deal

A hard-working Hertz rental car employee came to us when he was in a bind. He was trying to keep up with his rent and modest expenses the best he could, but was so afraid of losing his home that he started taking out payday loans to help cover his costs. Of course, it didn’t take long for those loans to come due and with high interest. That’s when he came to us and asked for help. We were able to help the client erase his payday loan debt, and come up with a budget plan that will keep him housed without having to resort to such drastic measures going forward. We spent time with the client educating him about the dangers of predatory payday loans, and the importance of having and sticking to a budget. He is grateful for the help and hopes that others don’t fall into the same trap he did.


Unbearable Loss

Our 67-year old client came to us after losing her adult son, with whom she was very close. Through the years he provided her with both emotional and financial support. While still grieving her loss, she was forced to move out of her apartment when the rent was raised to an insurmountable level. At that point, she moved into her son’s car and suffered mental and physical problems as a result. With the help of our case management efforts, we were able to help this client get the medications, hotel stays, and eventually permanent housing that was so desperately needed. The client said, “I would have never thought in a million years I’d get all this support and love….”


“Warm and safe…”

“I don’t know what we would have done without your help. It wasn’t easy living in my car with my son, dropping him at school, going to work and trying to find a safe place to park each night. After you paid our deposit, we moved right into the apartment. My friend says it’s small, but it’s really big to us. It’s warm and safe, and we don’t have to look for public places to wash up…”


“I cut back on food…”

“My late husband handled all these things, so when my HMO stopped paying for my main prescription and I didn’t have enough left to pay for it. I didn’t know what to do. I cut back on food for a while. When I came to you, I wasn’t sure what you could do for me. I was overwhelmed when you paid for my medicines and gave me food right away. Now that I get food every week and the other services you arranged for me, I can make it.”


“I couldn’t get to work when my car broke down…”

“I couldn’t get to work when my car broke down. It would take me over 2 hours each way by bus, and I couldn’t afford to pay any more for day care. That mechanic you sent me to was very good, honest, and quick. Thanks to you, I could fix my car. God Bless you all.”


“We would have been evicted…”

“We can’t thank you enough. When my husband was laid-off, we didn’t have enough to pay for COBRA, and my temporary job doesn’t have any benefits, so medical costs drained our savings. Then I stayed home two days when my girls were sick then I got what they had so I didn’t get paid for that week, and we couldn’t pay our rent. My husband got a new job but wouldn’t get paid for a month. I couldn’t believe how much you helped us, so fast, too. After we filled out all those papers and you checked everything, we walked out with our rent check. What a relief. We would have been evicted and God knows what would have happened to us then.”


“You helped me last month in so many ways…”

“You helped me last month in so many ways, and I wanted to thank you. I am the Grandma with the leaky gas stove. My grandson and I couldn’t stay in the house with that smell and danger. My new stove is like heaven, and staying in the motel while they fixed everything was wonderful. Getting to go to the Community Christmas Center meant I could give him some presents, get lots of food, and get new towels that we really needed. I don’t know what we would have done without you. Please thank everybody there.”


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