October 1 at 5:08pm

Helping Shawn Help Herself

This is Shawn. Shawn was living on the streets of Oceanside having to choose between paying for medical expenses or having a roof over her head.


Already overwhelmed by the harsh realities of homelessness, Shawn’s physical health and overall wellness were worsening each day. Her struggles were so daunting, it seemed as though an intervention was the only way of finding her the help she so desperately needed.


As fate would have it, Officer Ferry from the Oceanside Police Department Homeless Outreach Team received a distress call one morning. In a desperate cry for help, Shawn had threatened to take her own life. Officer Ferry responded to the call and promptly took action. In that moment, the start of Shawn’s recovery began.


Through a partnership between Interfaith Community Services and local police departments, Officer Ferry was able to connect Shawn with Anna, a case manager at Interfaith. Despite the long road ahead, Anna was determined to help Shawn obtain housing of her own. Until then, she was able to secure a spot for Shawn on the waitlist for Interfaith’s Haven House Year-Round Emergency Shelter.


When a bed became available, Interfaith provided Shawn with transportation to Haven House, a simple task for most, but a major barrier for someone thirty miles away, without transportation, or any funds. Yet, when Shawn arrived, the smile of hope across her face told us her darkest days were behind her.


During her stay at Haven House, Shawn’s well-being improved significantly. She was finally able to receive a breathing machine for her asthma, protect her skin from daily sun exposure, and receive assistance with medical forms. Before long, Shawn was able to secure Rental Assistance for a deposit through Interfaith’s Offering Hope in Housing program.


Today, Shawn lives in stable, long-term housing, pays her own rent, and lives a happy and secure life, all while helping guide those who are currently experiencing the same struggles she overcame.


After overcoming 15 years of chronic homelessness, Shawn was finally able to say, “Now I’m healthier. I look healthier. I feel healthier… I paid my rent. I paid my electric bill. I finally did that all myself.”


Interfaith is incredibly grateful for Shawn’s success, and proud to be part of her story.