Guillermo is a Cuban refugee who came to the U.S at the age of 50. Since moving to the States nearly 30 years ago, he has lost all contact with his friends and family in Cuba. The People Concern’s C3 Outreach Team first met Guillermo while he was living on the streets in Skid Row and appeared to be suffering from delusional disorder. Due to his mental state, the circumstances that lead to his homelessness is unknown.
Nevertheless, our teams began engaging with Guillermo and immediately connected him to a medical team to assess his needs. During the assessment, it was discovered that Guillermo was experiencing severe cognitive decline and had tested positive for COVID-19. Our team referred him to a quarantine and isolation site, where he could safely recover from the virus and receive the medical attention he needed. Luckily, Guillermo had a full recovery and was then referred to Exodus, a recuperative care interim housing facility. Once there, Guillermo had difficulty adjusting to life indoors and decided to return to the streets. Our Outreach Teams continued meeting with him several times a week to check on his health, make sure he was getting his basic needs met and try to get him to return to the shelter. After persistent engagement, Guillermo finally agreed to move indoors!
Today Guillermo is housed, healthy and safe living in an assisted living facility where he receives around-the-clock care and support from an entire team. Since moving indoors, his health has significantly improved. He is even looking forward to building new relationships with the staff and other residents. “Antes me sentia solo, ahora ya se que los tengo a vos. Y pues es necesario cambiar y dejar la calle. Yo se que tu me apriesas a mi y pues yo te quiero a ti por que tu estas aqui pa mi (before I felt alone, now I have you. Now I see the need to leave the streets and change. I know you appreciate me and I like you because you are here for me),” says Guillermo.
The path from homelessness to permanent housing is not always a straight road, but our teams never give up on our program participants. With compassion, consistency and a trauma-informed approach, our teams do whatever it takes to empower our most vulnerable neighbors to rebuild their lives, accept help and eventually move into permanent housing.