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Homeless for the Holidays: Meet Jane

Jane believed things would be better in California.

When she moved from Montreal to Modesto to start a new life, she thought she was leaving behind the life of fear and abuse she had experienced as a child. And for a while, she did.

With a degree in healthcare, she worked for Medic Alert where she conducted presentations at service clubs. She got married and had a son. Everything was looking up for Jane. Then the cycle of abuse restarted when her husband starting beating her and her child.

Fearing for their lives, Jane took her son and fled. They found refuge at a friend’s house in San Diego before finally moving into a home of their own. Suddenly finding herself a single mother, Jane worked two jobs to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.

Eventually her son grew up and moved out, but things did not get easier for Jane. Although she never drank or did drugs, her health worsened as she got older and she had problems with her shoulder that made it hard for her to work. At age 62 she lost her job, and could no longer afford her rising San Diego rent and her son was not able to help.

Forced to sleep in her car, Jane feared for her safety every single night.

Being homeless gave her very little privacy, made her feel vulnerable and at risk of the physical violence she had experienced all her life. Jane was a loyal member of her local church, but when she went to them for help, they turned her away.

Jane had all but given up hope.

Then one day, as she was riding the bus, another passenger told her about Serving Seniors and the supportive services we offer for struggling seniors.

Jane visited Serving Seniors’ Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center, where she received a warm meal and was set up with a social worker.

Through our Transitional Housing Program for Homeless Seniors, Jane was placed in a temporary unit at the Sara Frances Hometel in downtown San Diego, where she lived rent-free while her social worker helped her save and obtain access to benefits.

“Serving Seniors gave me hope,” Jane says, “a light at the end of the tunnel.”

After months of hard work, Jane got the phone call she had been waiting for: it was her social worker letting her know that they had found her a unit in a permanent affordable housing complex. Jane was overjoyed—overjoyed to have not just a place to live, but a safe and comfortable home where she no longer had to fear for her safety.

“This program has made a world of difference in my life,” Jane says. “If it weren’t for Serving Seniors I would probably still be on the streets.”

Transitional housing is not the only service we provide for homeless and low-income seniors. Our comprehensive wraparound services include nutritious congregate and home-delivered meals, nurse case management, health education, lifelong learning and enrichment, social services, and permanent supportive housing. We work at nine sites across San Diego County, including our Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center and our two affordable senior housing complexes. Each year, Serving Seniors provides life-saving programs to nearly 5,000 seniors in San Diego County.

Please join us on #GivingTuesday to help us raise $8,000 to provide housing, meals, and supportive services for more homeless seniors like Jane, or make your gift now at:

  • Alliance Healthcare Foundation
  • The San Diego Women's Foundation
    The San Diego Women's Foundation
  • CCDC
  • The California Wellness Foundation
    The California Wellness Foundation
  • Darlene Shiley
  • Gary and Mary West Foundation
  • Grossmont Healthcare District
    Grossmont Healthcare District
  • Price Philanthropies
  • Qualcomm
  • The San Diego Foundation
    The San Diego Foundation
  • Sempra
  • Trio Community Meals
  • Wells Fargo Foundation