June 6 at 5:01pm

Interfaith’s Senior Services Lead Woman to Stability

As a long-time Escondido resident, Lonna never imagined she would become homeless. However, after leaving an abusive marriage and finding herself out of options, Lonna became one of the many vulnerable seniors in our community seeking stability.

Without family connections in the area, Lonna found herself living out of her truck for over a month and a half. Homelessness began taking its toll on her mental and physical health. Spending the winter nights in the Walmart parking lot, Lonna soon came down with pneumonia. Lonna commented on her struggle, “I got so sick and depressed. I just cried out to the lord, ‘You have to move on my behalf because I just want to lie down and die.’”

Fortunately, Lonna’s hunger drew her to Interfaith in search of a sack lunch. “I came in for something to eat. I had no idea of everything Interfaith had to offer.” After mentioning her struggles with homelessness, Lonna received much more support than just a sandwich.

Interfaith’s staff sprang into action, and Lonna was immediately connected with behavioral health counseling and specialized case managed social services designed to help vulnerable seniors in North County. Lonna reminisces, “I was underwater and I didn’t have time to come up for breath. But once Interfaith came on the scene, it was just blessing after blessing.”

Interfaith’s Senior Services Case Manager quickly recognized that Lonna was in desperate need of immediate housing to improve her health. Interfaith soon secured a motel voucher to provide Lonna with a warm and safe place to spend her nights. Then, Lonna was connected to CalFresh benefits so she would no longer have to worry about affording her next meal.

After providing immediate stability, Interfaith’s staff members then started working on permanent solution to end Lonna’s homelessness. While Lonna was approved for a low-income housing voucher, with San Diego’s increasingly expensive rental market, she was unable to find a landlord who would accept her as a tenant. Lonna’s Senior Services Case Manager remained undeterred, and days before Lonna’s voucher was set to expire, all the hard work paid off. Lonna finally had an apartment to call home.

Appreciative of Interfaith’s support, Lonna praises the resolve of her Senior Services Case Manager, “Just to hear her voice on the other end of the phone each day, I knew she was there for me. I wasn’t in this all alone. Interfaith has restored my faith in humanity.”

Lonna now resides in a beautiful one-bedroom apartment in Escondido and has adopted a rescue dog, Snickers. She is overjoyed that her apartment complex not only includes a pool for the summer months, but also has a small patio for Snickers to enjoy. Best of all, Lonna was surprised to learn that Interfaith’s services didn’t end once she moved into her home.

Through the support of generous in-kind community donations, Interfaith was able to make a special home visit to Lonna. Interfaith’s truck arrived a week after her move-in with furnishings for her whole house including a dresser, bed, and kitchen utensils. Lonna describes her excitement, “I started smiling for joy, now my home was perfect for me.”