January 12 at 6:37pm

Housing 1000 in Action: Brian’s Story

Brian had been working in retail for over 20 years when he found himself unemployed after losing his job at Brookstone due to post-holiday layoffs. It was January of 2017 and very few of the companies Brian was researching were hiring at that time. After reaching out to family members for assistance, Brian became increasingly worried about his future. “That’s when I started stressing,” said Brian. “It was difficult to find a job because of my stress and because of the timing”.

Around this same time, Brian lost both his mother and beloved pet cat; these losses had an extreme effect on his mental health. Reality continued to set in when he was asked to leave his apartment, forcing him to find both storage for his belongings and housing within a short period of time. Unable to find a new place to live, Brian and his remaining cat, Nala, found themselves homeless and sleeping in a partially wooded area in rural Escondido. “I had never experienced it before and I thought the worst,” said Brian. “Everything races through your mind like ‘What are people going to be like on the streets?’ or ‘What am I going to do?’ But I knew I needed to find a job. Period.”

Before Brian had resorted to sleeping on the streets, he had already begun the intake process for Interfaith’s Haven House Year-Round Shelter. He was homeless for a little over a week when he received the news: that there was a bed available for him in Haven House, however Nala would not be able to live in the shelter with him. Entrusting a close friend with Nala, Brian moved into Haven House and lived there for seven months, creating very special bonds with his fellow Interfaith clients and staff members during that time.

“Interfaith has been just amazing,” said Brian. “I am so incredibly grateful for everybody there. Just getting into the shelter made such a huge difference for me. You have a place to sleep. The bed is comfortable. And yes, there are 48 other beds in there, but I liked that. I liked the people; I got to know everyone in there.”

During the seven months Brian lived in Haven House, he was learning to cope with the traumas he had endured, while also working with his case manager to find both a job and permanent housing. Brian had previously completed several trainings and orientations with the North County Inland Career Center and was excited about getting back into the workforce.

“While in Haven House, I was able to apply for more jobs,” said Brian. “I was able to do laundry easier; I was able to take a shower easier. That type of thing helps prepare you and give you the confidence you need for job interviews.” Soon thereafter, Brian found a job working at a local gas station, which proved to be a great start for his new life.

Shortly after obtaining this position, Brian’s case manager informed him that he had qualified for Interfaith’s Rapid Rehousing program. With this exciting news, Brian searched diligently for an appropriate room to fit his needs; he soon found the Charlotta Hotel, a historic hotel that had been converted into affordable housing in Escondido. In early December, Brian moved into his room at the Charlotta and was ecstatic to be reunited with Nala.

“It’s been bittersweet!’ said Brian. “Interfaith has been so incredible and I miss going back there every day. It feels like a family”.

To learn how you can change the lives of people like Brian by supporting Interfaith’s Housing 1000 campaign, please contact Robert Adams, Chief Development Officer, at radams@interfaithservices.org or by calling (760) 489-6380 ext. 206.