We have been struggling with homelessness since 2009. This past year, 2013, we held a homeless family sign and relied on the community for donations of food, money and hotel rooms. This was degrading and humiliating. We took baths at the park and slept in our van, all seven of us. Every night our sleep was disrupted by Ventura police who threatened us. No place was safe and there was no where to hide. Schools would not enroll my kids because they had no address, until the homeless liaison at Ventura Unified School District stepped in and enroll three of our children. September 2013, was the worst time ever, as all my children were taken away by Children and Family Services (CFS). I told them that I had applied for help with housing authority and shelters every where, but we were denied because there was no place for a family of seven. With the kids gone my husband and I were scheduled for weekly visits, John and I started recycling every night, the police continued to wake us nightly, but we stayed busy at night going through dumpster for recycled items. It was our CFS worker who brought us to RAIN in December 2013. As soon as we came to RAIN our kids were returned to us. My husband and I attended Relapse Prevention, Self-Sufficiency Class, Job Club and we received certificates for Parenting Class. My husband completed Homeless Court/Community Service hours and got his drivers license back. We sold the old van, and bought a van in better shape, and we are now moving into permanent housing.
Both my husband and I were employed as soon as we got to RAIN, thanks to the Job Club. I work for a company in Ventura, and my husband got a very good job in the Auto Center. We found childcare through Children’s Home Society. While at RAIN my children had tutors, were in the homework club and we all had therapists. In six months we completed our program. The Case Workers were great. Summer Ward gave us the opportunity and second chance to improve our life. She helped us with our goals; she gave us praise when we did well and helped to motivate us to accomplish the things we needed to. I will genuinely miss all the RAIN staff and Case Workers. They made our family complete again. Last night we took our five kids to see our 3 bedroom, 2 bath apartment at the Wave. Just watching them run to their new rooms, laughing was the most amazing feeling and a memory I will not forget. Thank you RAIN. I hate to leave the friends I made there, but know that someday soon they will share the same excitement with their family.