Written by Charles Simmons
Last September, I lost my home of 57 years in Ventura County. After my father passed away, I didn’t make enough money to keep up with his payments. Eventually, they had my house foreclosed on. I had no idea where I was going or what I was going to do. They gave me five days to empty a house of 57 years. It seemed like my life was turned upside down.
For the last 13 months, I’ve been living anywhere and everywhere. I went all the way up to Eureka in Northern California and to Yolo County right outside of Sacramento. My life has been living on streets, staying with friends, sleeping in garages, and camping out in cars. Although I did spend some time in homeless shelters, the majority of the time has been in my car. Not only was it my car, it was my home.
A few ladies from Salvation Army Veteran Services told me about Ormond Beach Villas a few years ago before they were even built. As things started progressing, I got a call that I had been added to the list. Then on January 15th, 2019, I got a call from Many Mansions telling me I had three hours, and I should hurry to submit my paperwork. I found a friend in Bakersfield that had a computer. She submitted all the forms for me, and the ball started rolling.
Now, Ormond Beach Villas is my home. When I first saw my unit, it didn’t seem real. I couldn’t believe they were giving me a place to live, and it was furnished! It was like a dream come true! I thought somebody was playing a joke on me at first, but it was all real.
I want people to know that there are options out there. You don’t have to be out on the streets, but you have to do the leg work. It won’t be handed to you, and that’s what I’m learning. I went and did everything. I’ve scratched and dug, but it paid off. I’m glad I’m off the streets. I look forward to getting my life back, getting out there, and enjoying it all.