This article is the first in a three-part series detailing the shared stories
By LILY TINOCO | editing assistant
The Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness invited community members to hear “success stories” from clients during their most recent meeting on Monday evening, November 14.
With the aim of spreading uplifting news around the holiday season, PPTFH invited Glada Sherman, Jennifer Dukes and Jessi Cortez – members of The People Concern’s outreach team – to share some clients, their progress and their journey from “homelessness to shelter”. “ to imagine. ”
“Today’s meeting is special,” said Co-President Sharon Browning at the start of the meeting. “Tonight we will pause to understand the issues and solutions surrounding homelessness and we will focus on what I consider to be the heart and soul of our mission… We will focus on the residents who experienced homelessness but are now sheltered or on the way to shelter.”
Sherman then explained that The People Concern empowers the most vulnerable to improve their quality of life by ensuring they are “housed, healthy and safe”. She invited attendees to the gathering to take a peek into the lives of three program participants, some of whose schedules stretch back to 2016.
Specifically, Sherman said 2016 marked the launch of the outreach team, the first engagement and collaboration between The People Concern and PPTFH.
Cortez introduced the evening’s first program participant, Kenneth Sly or Kenny.
“Kenny, like many of our clients, went through a lot of trauma,” Cortez shared, “but that didn’t stop him from continuing.”
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1960, Sly said he experienced Hurricane Betsy and suffered a series of injuries, but he remains focused on helping other people.
“To tell them… it’s about time [detox] Your system, clean your life,” he said. “You can die on the street, you can lose focus [the] streets. I’ve had places where I’ve been addicted to alcohol, drugs and things like that and you kind of end up dead… Coming back from so many problems and meeting dead people gives you the ambition to stay alive to survive. ”
With his apartment voucher, Sly looks forward to cooking and eating. Sharing that he is a chef, he addressed a time in his life when he ran various businesses. Losing those opportunities taught him to “re-fight, re-evaluate, and re-engage in his passions.”
“The best thing you can understand about homeless people is these homeless people [are] not without hope, not without prayer,” he said. “I am very thankful that God exists. That God exists and shows me the things I’ve lost [do] come back tenfold, and that it’s not just through the people [have given] I make money from it.”
Cortez said he’s made a lot of progress since Sly has been on the team and he hopes to see him housed in the near future.
“Each individual is unique in their journey,” concluded Dukes. “It’s our position as outreach to support these individuals and address some of their immediate needs… It’s about empowering people and trusting their abilities to succeed.”
Two more stories will be printed in future issues of the paper, highlighting success stories covered at the meeting.