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Behind the scenes at LifeMoves: A homeless woman's success story

 

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Story by Daniel Schmid of LifeMoves.

A formerly homeless woman spoke recently at an event for volunteers and donors hosted by LifeMoves, the largest provider of interim housing and homeless services on the Peninsula and in Silicon Valley.

She shared her heartbreaking and inspiring story about the realities of homelessness in Silicon Valley, and described how LifeMoves programs helped her achieve stable housing and self-sufficiency.

As the event was winding down, she stayed to mingle and help clean up. Then, a cupcake fell on the floor – frosting side down. This elegant woman immediately dropped to her knees to pick it up.

She froze, staring at the cupcake in her hand. Holding back tears, she looked up, and said, "I don't have to eat food off of the floor anymore, do I?"

She continued: "I'm not that person any more – that person who was so hungry she ate anything she could find. I'm so grateful to know that I'll never be that hungry again!"

But she still couldn't bring herself to throw away the cupcake, so she asked another person to do it for her.

Just as the specter of homelessness and the associated trauma haunts those who have experienced it, homelessness is haunting Silicon Valley. The most recent census estimated that there are nearly 1,700 homeless individuals on the streets of San Mateo County on a given night.

And with rents skyrocketing, many more people are just one adverse life event away from losing their housing.

LifeMoves provides emergency, interim, and permanent supportive housing to the most vulnerable people in our community.

We provide nutritious food, clothing, and safe, clean, modern housing, combined with intensive support services including case management, job counseling, psychotherapy, education, and an on-site summer camp for children services that promote dignity and go directly to the root of the problem, rather than just treating symptoms.

Last year, with the support of nearly 15,000 dedicated volunteers, LifeMoves assisted 9,636 homeless individuals, including families with children, with approximately 244,000 nights of shelter.

Most important, the LifeMoves therapeutic service model is effective. Last year, 92 percent of families and 78 percent of individuals completing the LifeMoves program returned to stable housing, equipped with life skills and competencies needed to maintain long-term self-sufficiency.

The holidays are about love, family, friends, and good food. But for our successful graduates, good food can be a reminder of days when they were hungry and homeless.

At LifeMoves, we help homeless people in our community break the cycle of homelessness for good so that none of our neighbors is living, or foraging for food, on our streets.

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About LifeMoves: LifeMoves provides housing and other services to homeless people and those at risk of losing their homes. Go to LifeMoves.org or call (650) 685-5880 for more information. The address is: LifeMoves, 181 Constitution Drive, Menlo Park, CA 94025.

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