The following is an excerpt from the July 2017 Pacific Palisades Taskforce on Homelessness Newsletter. To read the full July Newsletter, click here.
Moving in After Being on the Streets
Imagine yourself having to live on the streets for almost five years. By then you might even have given up hope. And then imagine having outreach workers like our Glanda and Maureen offer you help to become sober and find permanent supportive housing. But the housing doesn’t include furniture or dishes. It’s just empty rooms.
That’s better than being on the streets, but since you have no money, it can still feel cold and lonely. Now imagine that another kind stranger offers furniture for your empty rooms. Your place suddenly feels warmer and life more hopeful. A homeless woman we’ll call Anne recently benefited from such generosity, provided by Meridith Baer Home.
Meridith Baer Home is probably the premier company in the country at “staging”—furnishing high-end homes for sale. You may be familiar with the process. Heide Ziecker, Director of Design for Meridith Baer, grew up in the Palisades and became aware of PPTFH and what we’re doing. Since Meridith is a huge supporter of efforts to combat homelessness, Heide asked if the company would be willing to help PPTFH furnish some of the housing for our homeless people, using furniture in their warehouses. Meridith said yes, and Anne was the first recipient a few weeks ago.
Anne’s is the first of several “move-in” projects where Meridith Baer Home will provide the furnishings for someone who has just moved off the streets. Here is Anne’s story.
Anne became homeless in Texas in 2013 and came to Santa Monica hoping that a change in geography would help her better her life. Her two goals were to find housing and maintain her sobriety. Being homeless on the streets adds significant stress to living, especially for women. Anne eventually began to receive services from The People Concern as well as LA County’s Department of Mental Health. Receiving those supportive services gave her hope, but she was still on the streets.
Anne’s move into housing was a dream she waited for with courage and determination for almost five years. She lived in a shelter for some of those years, while her husband was living on the streets. So the news of housing meant that she and her husband could live together in the safety of their own apartment. Meredith Baer Home’s support made empty rooms a home. The furniture Heide set up for them transformed their apartment into a warm, inviting place to live.
Anne and her husband are “over the top delighted, and even proud” about the change. Meredith Baer Home has helped lessen the worries in Anne’s life, and she now feels confident enough to schedule needed surgery that she had delayed. Recuperating in her newly furnished apartment will be a part of their recovery in ways they never imagined.
Thank you, Meridith Baer Home and Heide Ziecker!