By JOSEPH DYCUS | Bay Area News Group
During the COVID pandemic, Jessica Madrid and her daughter, now 6, lived out of a car, in motels and anywhere else they could find. Both of Madrid’s parents and the father of her daughter are deceased.
“I’ve dealt with a lot of things in my life,” Madrid said, “and that left me homeless.”
Madrid found stability in a homeless facility run by SHELTER Inc, a foundation she needed to help her get back on her feet and into a residence of her own.
SHELTER Inc. provides support for struggling families and individuals in Contra Costa, Solano and Sacramento counties, providing shelter and assistance to prevent homelessness and help people become self-sufficient and find more permanent housing. Last year, its programs served more than 3,700 individuals representing 2,200 families in three counties. Of those, 32% were children, 10% were seniors and 7% were veterans.
“Sometimes, people go through struggles in life and don’t have families and friends who can help them,” case manager Victoria Houchins said. “SHELTER Inc. can give them a second chance to start over and do it on their own.”
Through the East Bay Times’ Share the Spirit program to highlight nonprofit organizations serving our neighbors in need, SHELTER Inc. is hoping to raise $20,000 for its Mountain View Family Shelter in Martinez to help with operations, client needs and supplies. The funds will provide the costs to house, feed and provide supportive services and supplies for 11 families, including 12 children under the age of 18 and their parents, for one month.
Those who are accepted into the shelter are guaranteed a stay of at least 90 days. After that, Houchins said residents who can show they are making progress on setting goals are given 30-day extensions. Houchins said most residents say between six months to a year.
“I was there for two years,” said Madrid, who was allowed to stay longer because of the difficulties presented by the pandemic.
Autumn Wolf is trying to follow Madrid’s path from a homeless shelter to her own place. Wolf is a single mother, raising a newborn daughter and a 4-year-old son in a SHELTER Inc. facility in Martinez.Wolf, 25, briefly stayed in the shelter as a teenager and recently returned after she lost her source of income. She had bounced from hotel to hotel for several months. At one point during her second pregnancy, she started driving toward Tennessee with her son in a desperate attempt to start a new life. She made it 83 miles before she changed her mind.
How to Help
Shelter Inc. will use donations at its Mountain View Family Shelter in Martinez to help with cost of housing operations, client needs, food, transportation and supplies.
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