April 2024 News Brief – Two Clients Move from Cars to Homes

PPTFH Success Story

Two Clients Move from Cars to Homes

Vehicle dwelling is a phenomenon born of necessity. Some individuals lose their homes but manage to hold on to their vehicles for shelter. Some individuals use their savings to buy a car when facing the possibility of being homeless.

Vehicle dwellers face many challenges and harsh realities. They navigate life in confined spaces, struggle for adequate hygiene, face parking restrictions, and are denied privileges that many of us take for granted.

In Pacific Palisades, recent years have seen an increase in vehicle dwellers. Direct outreach efforts to these individuals have had limited success, but referral by formerly homeless clients of The People Concern and PPTFH have proven effective. Recent efforts by The People Concern’s Outreach Team in the Palisades and PPTFH’s Volunteer Response Team have moved several vehicle dwellers into permanent supportive housing. Two of these individuals shared their stories of survival, coping skills, and resilience. Below they are profiled by Glanda Sherman, The People Concern’s Outreach Engagement Specialist for Pacific Palisades. We celebrate their success.

Success Story #1: TA

PPTFH Success Story

TA experienced homelessness for over six years. Now, supported by income from the California Employment Development Department (EDD), he has his own place—the first time in his 51 years, he said. TA navigates life with resilience despite facing mental health challenges. His superpower lies in his self-awareness and ability to find coping mechanisms through hard work. He approaches every task with dedication and determination. We have witnessed TA’s industrious spirit firsthand, as he diligently collects cans and recyclable items with a “whatever it takes” attitude.

TA’s resilience shines through in his diverse work experiences. He’s been a member of a movie industry union, collaborating with food service staff on sets. He also worked as a janitor. He points to his adaptability and commitment to hard work as keys to his survival. He explained that being a vehicle dweller entails a constant struggle to provide life’s necessities—like maintaining personal hygiene and preserving food—without adequate resources.

Safety has been a concern for TA, having endured traumatic experiences such as a stabbing that punctured his lung and robbery at gunpoint for a mere $40. These incidents left him in a state of fear, hesitant to venture far from his vehicle. However, TA is hopeful. With the recent repossession of his car, he surprisingly feels a weight lifted off his shoulders, seeing it as an opportunity for a fresh start. He now looks forward to the possibility of acquiring a motorbike and returning to work.

Success Story #2: PR

PPTFH Success Story 2

After losing her job in Tennessee and facing a series of setbacks, including the theft of her car’s catalytic converter, PR found herself in a downward spiral. With nowhere to turn, she made the bold decision to relocate to California, only to face the harsh realities of living out of her car for about a year.

Reminiscing about her past life with a home and a decent job, PR battled feelings of disappointment and depression. Car repairs and getting stranded when her car broke down were challenging for her on an income of $221 a month. This is when she met The People Concern’s Outreach Team in the Palisades. They provided supplies for PR’s personal hygiene and offered a sense of community and support, helping her face cold nights and challenging uncertainty. Adapting to her circumstances, PR transformed her car into a makeshift home while prioritizing her safety in vulnerable situations.

Then, PR’s life took a turn for the better. With the aid of income from General Relief and the support of The People Concern and PPTFH, she has moved to the safety and stability of permanent supportive housing. No longer afraid of the dark, she has reestablished a routine that has brought her peace and a newfound sense of security. PR is proud to say she is reclaiming her life one day at a time.