Greg Hughbanks became overwhelmed while sharing how he wants to get his life back, the life he had before he was homeless.
Greg Hughbanks was staying near Garden Highway. He said he had a motorcycle accident when he was 18, which affected his brain. He said he would have liked to serve his country in the military, like other members of his family did before him. After the recent passing of his mother he struggled with depression, and has dealt with substance abuse. He said he has children he hasn't been able to provide for. He has been living in tents along the American River and has had bycicles stolen from him. He says, although it seems overwhelming, he dreams about getting his life back, working as a mechanic and even hosting a television show one day about construction and mechanics.
Chris Lamb was hanging around Loaves and Fishes Friendship Park on a rainy day while other unsheltered people received hand warmers and other services. As a generally upbeat person, he walked around while others stayed sheltered under the awnings of buildings. Lamb can sometimes be seen as the silver dancing man in Old Sacramento dancing and trying to wrangle some cash.
Sally Monaco was the first resident to move into Modesto’s new tent city underneath the 9th Street Bridge. She hopes this will be just temporary and that it will help her get into some affordable housing soon. Volunteers helped her move from Beard Brook Park earlier today. “I can’t afford anything on the income that I get with the way that rent and everything is so high around here so we really can’t afford anything when your income is on disability, it’s not enough to rent a place.”
Jim Thompson has been living out of his car with his wife, Jodie, for almost a year now on the streets of Manteca after falling on some hard times. He’s been through back surgeries and he’s out of work right now, relying on his wife’s unemployment funds to get by. He just got a fresh haircut, clean clothes, hot food and a new perspective on life after finding Inner City Action’s pop-up tent in Manteca last month. He joined their initiative with his wife and he said, “You feel good about yourself. You’re not treated like dirt.” He’s planning to be moved into this organization’s housing until the program can help him and his wife gets back on his feet.
Keke Moore recently became a Certified Nurse Assistant and is a talented singer. She has been working with the elderly and says she likes to dedicate her life to helping people. A few years ago, her parents divorced and she says that's when everything in her life took an unexpected turn for the worse. After her mother remarried and had more children, the whole family became homeless. She remembers having to sleep in a public bathroom at McClatchy park with her mother, stepfather and three younger siblings. Sometimes they slept in tents on the park's stage also. She says her mother, who is disabled, would sometimes have to steal food to feed them. She wants to be a role model for her younger siblings, who are now living in a shelter with her mother. She was able to find transitional housing through Wind Youth services and hopes to pursue studies to become a midwife. All to buy a house where her mother and siblings can all live together. While visiting the Wind drop-in center. She says at the Creation District she can be herself, sing aloud and never feel judged.
Mario Daniel loves to dance. He recently started teaching a dance class at Wind Youth Services Creation District every Friday. He found Wind through his old girlfriend, whom he was living with in tents and at parks. Through the years, his mother has struggled with drug addiction and homelessness. He said he has slept out on the streets to keep her company. Now he is living in transitional housing and is spending time looking for work, playing videogames and planning his choreographies.
Richard Curran, 18, has been sleeping in a tent at Modesto’s Beard Brook Park for the past several weeks with close to 400 other people that have nowhere else left to go.
He says he’s been homeless since he was only 14 years old and because of that, he never graduated high school.
"It was really difficult trying to continue high school social life smelling like a homeless kid," he said.
His parents also identify as homeless after never being able to get back on their feet either. His mom is staying at the Modesto Gospel Mission and his dad is staying at the Salvation Army shelter.
Curran wants to eventually go back to school to get his GED and find a job after he finds a way to replace his social security card which got lost in his transition to homelessness a few years ago.
Until then, he says he is enjoying camping in the low-barrier outside the shelter at Beard Brook Park.
Jodie Thompson grew up in the community of Manteca but spent the past year living out of her car with her husband Jim after her mother kicked both of them out of her house. She stopped showing up to work to take care of her husband who was recovering from multiple back surgeries. They are both surviving solely on her unemployment checks alone as he is also out of work. She has a daughter in foster care now who she doesn’t get to see very often. She stumbled upon Inner City Action’s pop-up tent in Manteca who offered her a shower, a warm meal and clean clothes. After a few days, she decided to join their organization in order to stay in their housing, give back to the community in need and eventually get back on her feet with her husband.
Halcyon, 20, is his artist name, a word that is used to describe a time of success and prosperity. Hal was born in Kansas, has lived in many places with his family, including Germany, because his stepfather was in the military. While living in North Carolina, he decided to follow his dream of moving to California. He saved money, bought a ticket and found some roommates to live with. He says his roommates took his money and he ended up homeless. Hal was introduced to Creation District at WIND Youth Services by a volunteer. With the help of Wind, Hal was able to move into transitional housing around a month ago and now works at the Creation District. He has been making visual art pieces, which include collages, drawings and paintings, which he often merges with his poetry. His pieces are now showing at Old Soul Coffee Shop on Broadway.
Stephanie Koski was formerly homeless and now works for the Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance. She said her department's mission is to work to improve lives. She said she sees her work as a way to help people that are currently in a situation she once was in. "For me, it really touches my heart because I was one of the many homeless in Sacramento at one time, and I know what it's like to feel invisible. I'm hoping that this count tonight can help bring to light how many people are truly experiencing homelessness, and get them the services they need," Koski said.
Between 2005 and 2011, Joe was living unsheltered. He said he lost the life he knew to alcoholism. In 2012, his organs were failing and he came close to dying. That's when he got sober, applied for disability and began to receive medical care. One day his doctor told him, "It's time to get moving because you just might make it." He was able to find housing through Volunteers of America and began volunteering at Loaves and Fishes. When a job opportunity as an intake specialist opened up, he applied and got the job. He has been using his own experience to connect, empathize and inspire people coming in daily to Friendship Park at Loaves an Fishes. Now he has risen to the position of Assistant Director.
Gloria Pizana became homeless when her husband of 15 years had a midlife crisis. He sold all their stuff, including their house, and told her that out of the 15 years they had spent together, only 2 were good. He ended up dropping off Gloria in LA with her kids. Within a 6 month span, her whole life was flipped on its head. Fast forward, she has experienced deep depression, drug abuse and at one point attempted suicide. She says the thoughts of suicide still linger around, but she has a way more positive outlook on life now. She says she loves helping others. She is now volunteering at loaves and fishes. She says she hopes to reunite with her kids soon.
When one of Sterling Daley's children developed a drug problem and became homeless, the difficulty getting his son support opened Daley's eyes to the problem the homeless face. Daley is a part of the Homeless Assistance Resource Team and a Folsom volunteer. "These are real people out here, and they're somebody's kids or somebody's spouse. They deserve better than we're giving them."
Grace Loescher works motivating homeless youth to discover and develop their artistic potential in a number of different realms, including music, dance, improv, comedy, visual arts and poetry. She does so at the Wind Youth Services Creation District.
Dave Fuller serves as a navigator for the point-in-time count that allows the city to better asses what resources are needed to help the people that are homeless. Fuller explained that many homeless try to stay out of the way during the day but are more likely to be out at night. He said that he works towards helping link homeless to the resources they need to work towards getting on their feet. "Nothing beats seeing someone turn that key and be back in a house. It makes the job worth it every single day," Fuller said.