Matthew and Juanito’s journey with The People Concern has truly been transformational. From outreach to interim housing to Project Roomkey (PRK) to permanent housing, Matt and Nito’s success encapsulates The People Concern’s commitment to meeting people ‘where they are at’, taking a multidisciplinary approach to providing comprehensive services and empowering individuals to rebuild their lives.
“It was hard to catch up on rent. Then, new owners bought the property and told us we had to leave, so we became homeless,” recalls Nito. Together, Matt and Nito lived on the streets of Downtown Los Angeles for over a year. “It was scary on the streets, I never felt safe,” says Matthew. “The day The People Concern’s Outreach Team approached us in the park was life-changing. They told us they had a shelter that would accept us both. If it wasn’t for the E6 Outreach Team, we wouldn’t be here today,” says Nito.
Matt and Nito were referred to El Puente, one of The People Concern’s interim housing facilities in Downtown Los Angeles. Once at El Puente, they were connected to case management, substance abuse services, employment services, wellness groups, medical and mental health care. With the help of their team, Matt and Nito’s overall health and wellbeing improved tremendously. In February of 2020, the couple got married!
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit a few months later, Matt and Nito were referred to Project Roomkey (PRK), a state-wide initiative to move medically vulnerable people indoors during the pandemic. “I was very worried about the virus because of my existing health conditions. I felt very blessed that I was able to move to PRK and that my husband was allowed to come with me,” recalls Matt. While in PRK, they continued to receive wraparound services and have recently moved into permanent housing! “Having our own apartment feels unreal at times, it’s very exciting. The People Concern staff are good people who want to help you meet your goals and move you into permanent housing,” says Nito. “This is going to be a new journey for us,” shares Matt. Today, Matt and Nito continue to work on their sobriety, are seeking employment and remain housed, healthy and safe!