Stories

Tiffany’s Story

Simon’s Story

Keith’s Story

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Tiffany’s Story

As a business major and an employee at a bank, Tiffany never thought she would become homeless.

Living with lupus, much of Tiffany’s life was focused on overcoming her illness. So after a successful kidney transplant, with her improved health, Tiffany was overjoyed to now focus on earning her business degree.

Then her life took an unpredictable turn. Her hours were cut at the bank while struggling with depression. Unable to afford rent with half the income, she was evicted.

“I started going through my savings to stay in hotels. And I would stay with friends. But you can only sleep on your friends couches for so long. Then I began sleeping in my car.”

But recently, something changed. Tiffany connected with The People Concern.

At first she was fearful of shelters. “I was afraid people would steal and bully me. But coming here wasn’t like that. They welcomed me.”

Because of committed donors like you, Tiffany was able to seek comprehensive services, and ultimately build a plan that led to her being housed.

“I have my own apartment!” She exclaimed with excitement, “Now I really want to give back.”

Now that she’s secured stable housing, Tiffany can focus her energy on pursuing her goal of going to pharmacy school to help others living with an illness.

 

 

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Simon’s Story

Simon Dsouza isn’t afraid to speak his mind – especially on issues of homelessness. In fact, he’s quick to offer an alternative descriptor for individuals that find themselves living on the streets of LA.

“They say home is where the heart is,” Dsouza said. “I have a heart so how can I be homeless? I prefer the term unhoused.”

Dsouza is well on his way to dropping both descriptors. He successfully secured a housing voucher with help from OPCC and Lamp Community. And now, he and Care Coordinator, Jessie Ramos, are actively searching for available units.

Dsouza has been unhoused for the past five years – resulting from medical issues that left him unable to maintain employment. Dsouza has been unhoused for the past five years – resulting from medical issues that left him unable to maintain employment. He connected with the agency and began receiving services at the Access Center in Santa Monica.

Jesse connected him with an OPCC and Lamp Community clinician – a resource that allows him to openly examine his feelings in a safe space.  He was also able to secure a state driver’s license, a significant personal milestone.

Dsouza adamantly praises OPCC and Lamp Community for its commitment to serving individuals struggling to find stable housing. In his view, it serves as a beacon of hope for individuals in need. “OPCC and Lamp Community is very, very important,” he said. “Without OPCC and Lamp Community, there would be a lot of people that would be lost in so many ways. [The agency] is a huge stepping stone moving forward toward something. Without it, you’re stagnant.”

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Keith’s Story

On a quiet Friday afternoon, Keith Salas sits peacefully in his quaint mid-city studio. Wearing a hat with the word “Sunset” scrolled across the crown, you immediately get the sense that he’s at peace with his surroundings.

Just about every inch of his space is immersed in artistic expression. A canvas covered in strikingly contrasting lines – a product of his bold imagination – hangs above his bed. Another piece, comprised of a salvaged wooden chair protruding from the canvas, is mounted on the open wall space near his front door.Put simply, Keith has found a home. A safe space where he and his art can flourish with help from the dedicated staff at OPCC and LAMP Community.Prior to establishing a relationship with OPCC and Lamp Community, Keith’s life was marked by depression and bouts of persistent drug addiction. He struggled to maintain steady employment and eventually spent a decade living on the streets of LA.

He connected with the agency through the Annenberg Access Center and began working with case manager, Erica Tobin, to chart a viable path toward permanent housing. They developed a plan and eventually launched the search for permanent housing. Once they were able to pinpoint a space, OPCC and LAMP Community provided the security deposit and new stove for the unit.

“Keith is very proactive and resourceful,” said Erica Tobin, Keith’s case manager. “We worked as a team to get him housed and he is very driven.”Keith has been sober for the past two years. His days are now spent finding inspirations for his art, a gift he inherited from his mother. He transforms discarded objects and furniture into frames or objects for his paintings.It’s been quite the journey for Keith – traversing the winding path to permanent, stable housing. But it’s a journey that has been well worth every step. “It’s been the best year of my life because I got my place, started painting, and got out of my depression,” Keith said. “My whole life has totally changed.”

*All information quoted from the OPCC website. For more information and a list of all stories please click here.