The Barker family first came into our system of care through our CalWorks Rapid Re-Housing Program. Jerry and his wife, Emily, had been struggling to make ends meet, and to provide for their son, Alex, due to medical issues and limitations. Although Mercy House was providing the Barker’s with various resources, it was clear that this family was in need of a long term solution. As a result, the Barker family was referred to our Permanent Supportive Housing Program and case manager, Irene Mendoza, met with them to hear more of their story. Irene explains:
“I met with the Barker family and learned that Jerry was involved in a major accident many years ago that left him permanently disabled and unable to work. Jerry also suffers from Meniere’s Disease which causes spontaneous episodes of vertigo. They also shared that Emily lost her vision in one eye due to cancer in her eye (melanoma). Recently, Jerry has been in and out of hospital having medical procedures done to his kidney and he is currently living with a tube that helps with the draining of fluids. He even feared that he would die from his last surgery because he is a high risk patient.”
Before entering our programs, the Barker family had been chronically homeless for over 10 years. They had been living in an RV with no running water, and would oftentimes shower at the beach. Last month, Mercy House permanently housed Jerry, Emily, and Alex. They are now living in a wonderful and spacious two-bedroom apartment in Anaheim. When Emily first entered the unit, she was beaming and smiling from ear to ear. Emily noticed the private patio that came with her apartment and she was so excited to be able to garden again and plant sunflowers. Alex now has his own bedroom, and Jerry has a home to recover in from his upcoming medical procedures.
Irene states, “As a Housing Advocate, I can tell you first hand that this strategy in housing individuals in their own place changes lives, and quite frankly saves lives. There isn’t a better feeling in the world than to hand over keys to someone and say, ‘Welcome home.'”