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A Journey to Permanent Housing

After 19 years of being unhoused, Michael was able to move into permanent housing with help from STEAC’s rental assistance.

Michael was born in North Carolina where, as a child, his mother abandoned the family. This sudden transition to a working single-parent household took a toll on his father, who decided to relocate the family to California for extra assistance from his family. Michael recalls living with his grandmother for about five years, where he saw his father come in and out of prison until he was eventually able to get back on his feet.

At the age of 14/15, Michael ran away from home. This was his first experience with
homelessness. Through other unhoused teens who he befriended, Michael learned about a
teen center in downtown Sacramento where kids facing hardships like his could receive assistance. He would visit the teen center on occasion until they closed and relocated further

Throughout the years, Michael fell into alcoholism and drug use. Some of his friends worried about him and they encouraged him to leave the area he was staying in with the hope of finding a better living environment. This is when he moved to Davis. Michael liked the Davis community; it was a place where he felt welcomed and safe.

He stated, “It [felt] like I could actually walk down the street out here and not get hassled.”

Michael received support from various agencies in the Yolo County area to help move him into
permanent housing, but most notably, his caseworker at CommuniCare played an immense role in his journey. Synda at Davis Community Meals and Housing (DCMH) has been an integral part of Michael’s new beginning. Synda is DCMH’s Supportive Services Supervisor and submitted the request for financial assistance from STEAC to help with Michael’s move-in costs.

Synda recalls one of the first times seeing Michael was during homeless outreach that she used to conduct for DCMH. He was sleeping on the street with nothing but a backpack.

“To now see him in his home… it’s really an incredible process… to see his will,” said Synda.

Synda mentions how programs like STEAC’s rental assistance help set people up for success due to our program guidelines.

“Many residents over my time really would not be able to become housed or stay housed if it
wasn’t for STEAC… [your] criteria for help empowers people and [you] deliver it with incredible
kindness and compassion,” she stated.

STEAC was able to financially assist with Michael’s move in costs at a low-income housing
complex in Davis. Life is more calm for Michael now in his new apartment. He enjoys playing video games and has befriended others in the complex that keep him company. A new family.

When asked whether he has any advice or messages to others he noted:
“For a while I felt hopeless, like I wasn’t worth the time for help, but once I had my foot in the
door [I] made progress; like having hope.”

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