November 6 at 6:26pm

Housing 1,000 in Action: Ryan’s Story

Ryan had been living on the streets on and off since he was 22-years-old. He’d been homeless in downtown San Diego for several months when his estranged father reached out to him with a connection to Interfaith Community Services. When Ryan finally reached Interfaith, he was 35-years-old, 130 pounds, and his feet were covered in dirt. His father connected Ryan with Interfaith’s Shelters Program Manager, Lauren Pollick, who was able to get him onto the wait list for the Haven House Year-Round Shelter. That first night Ryan spent in Escondido, he slept on the street outside Interfaith, proving to himself how dedicated he was to this change. “That’s when I knew I was going to stay clean,” said Ryan. “I was ready.” 

That was in early July 2017, and Ryan has been clean and sober ever since.  

Ryan lived in Haven House for 2 months where he was able to receive the support and care needed for his recovery. Battling mental illness and addiction, Ryan grew close with case manager Maria Mercado during his time with Interfaith. “I feel like both Maria and Lauren have been family to me,” said Ryan. “I don’t know what I would have done without them.” 

Part of Ryan’s success was due to how engaged he was with his case management, and how active he was in his AA meetings. “He was a leader in the shelter and inspired people to get clean and take action to better themselves and better their lives. His success was so inspirational to other people that they also worked to get clean,” said Lauren Pollick. 

“There’s a lot of pain here,” said Ryan. “But when the Haven House doors opened every night at 5:30 p.m., I felt relieved and relaxed.”  

While staying in Haven House, Ryan focused on his faith and personal growth. His advice to anyone in a similar situation who is considering working with Interfaith is to “Trust the process and be honest with your case manager. That’s the only way you’re going to get help. It’s a lot of work, but it feels incredible on the other side.” 

Ryan now has a full-time job at a lumber yard where he happily works eight hour days. “Physical labor like that helps me keep my mind clear and focused,” Ryan said. In addition, Interfaith helped him reconnect with his family, as well Ryan states “accept his flaws so that I can move forward.” He now lives in the transitional housing program awaiting permanent and stable housing. 

For more information about Interfaith’s Housing 1000 campaign and how you can get involved, please contact Robert Adams, Chief Development Officer, by clicking here or calling (760) 489-6380 ext. 206.