Gifts to the Almanac's Holiday Fund benefit InnVision Shelter Network and nine other community organizations.
By Maria Duzon, marketing manager, InnVision Shelter Network
Like most families at InnVision Shelter Network, Hugo and Kathy never imagined they would become homeless. After Hugo was honorably discharged from the Army, he moved with his wife Kathy and their 13-year-old daughter Alyssa into a comfortable two-bedroom home. Kathy worked as a nurse at the local children's hospital, and Hugo found a steady job in security.
Suddenly, Hugo fell ill with a chronic and painful condition. His illness limited his mobility and forced him to leave his job. The family cut down on expenses and tried to sustain themselves on their savings and Kathy's single income. Within three months, they realized that they could no longer afford to keep their apartment.
The family moved into a hotel while they searched for affordable housing and new employment for Hugo. On the verge of homelessness, Hugo turned to the Department of Veterans Affairs for help. His family was referred to InnVision Shelter Network and moved into a transitional apartment at Haven Family House in Menlo Park.
"I thought the shelter was going to be a huge room with cots," said Kathy. "But what we found was a beautiful, fully furnished apartment and staff that were so accommodating."
With stable, supportive housing, the family was able to rebuild their lives. Hugo's health improved and he secured a full-time job at SFO. Their daughter Alyssa enrolled in a nearby school and received the Student of the Month award.
Hugo and Kathy worked with their case manager to develop a monthly budget and a college savings plan for Alyssa. Within a few months at InnVision Shelter Network, they saved more than $1,500. They found an affordable apartment near Alyssa's school, and moved into permanent housing just in time to celebrate the holidays together in their new home.
"InnVision Shelter Network gave us a safe and comfortable place to get back on our feet," said Kathy. "They saved our family from living on the street. I hope to stay in touch and give back in any way I can."
InnVision Shelter Network supports hundreds of homeless families like Hugo, Kathy, and Alyssa on their path to permanent housing and self-sufficiency. Our services are only made possible by the generous support of our community.
Visit www.ivsn.org to donate or get involved.
■ Donate today to the Almanac Holiday Fund.