"I was embarassed that I had become homeless and was living with my kids, but I decided to come to ECHO and seek the help I needed. I am very glad I did!"
Nadine was homeless for three years before arriving at ECHO. She had been couch surfing with her children because she was not able to afford her own place to live. Being a domestic violence survivor, Nadine had difficulty dealing with daily tasks, and was very anxious at night. Upon her entrance interview, it was decided that she would focus on her mental health and recovery. With guidance from ECHO case managers, Nadine sought help from Transitions Mental Health Association and Community Counseling Center in SLO. She also completed an orientation with the Department of Rehabilitation for career counseling. After a few months at ECHO, Nadine was approved for subsidized housing and found a small apartment in SLO. She is currently working on starting her own business. When asked about her experience at ECHO she said, "Staff treated me with respect. They believed in me and cared about me. My case managers were always there to listen to me and provide me with encouragement.
"I expected this place to just be a shelter, but it was so much more than that. The staff really cared about me, my wife, and my kids."
Justin and his family of five were the unfortunate victims of a rental scam. When they found out the house they had been renting was not legitimately owned by the landlord, they were forced to move. Struggling to find work on a work visa, Justin had to make the decision to bring his family to ECHO. They arrived with very little, but they did have a plan. Justin had begun to start his own landscaping business and just needed enough time for his family to stay in a safe place while he saved up money for a move. During their stay, his kids were recipients of the Boys & Girls Club scholarship for summer camp, which gave his wife the ability to care for the youngest of the siblings. Within a few months, Justin had built the business to the point where he was able to buy his own truck and tools. His business began to take off and he worked long hours, sometimes coming to the dinner service to eat and then out to work again in the evening. After a few months more, Justin and his family found permanent housing with the assistance of a small grant from the 5 Cities Homeless Coalition Rapid Rehousing Program. After their move, Justin said, "I expected this place to just be a shelter, but it was so much more than that. The staff really cared about me, my wife, and my kids."
"I really needed a soft place to land while I tried to straighten my life out for myself and my kids. ECHO gave me the direction I needed."
April and her two young daughters came to ECHO at the end of March 2018. April was recently sober and was working hard to take the steps needed to remain that way.
ECHO staff worked with her to figure out her financial situation and how she could start paying off debt and budgeting for her future. ECHO's case management team helped her apply for a Housing Choice Voucher through HASLO. She enrolled in a Drug/Alcohol program and began taking classes twice a week. Next, she connected with Department of Social Services and was paired with a parent partner who could help her navigate through various resources. With the help of her parent partner and case manager she enrolled her daughters into daycare through the Head Start program. She found employment through the Welfare to Work program. She began working part time at a retail store and after completing the Welfare to Work program, she was given a full time job in retail. April successfully graduated from the Drug/Alcohol program on September 26. Case managers helped her transition into housing at Anna's Home temporarily while they worked to find permanent housing with her Housing Choice Voucher. She found housing at the end of October and moved into her new apartment on November 1. ECHO staff is very proud of the hard work April put forth to change her circumstances for herself and her daughters.