Meet Sandy, a longtime Santa Cruz resident who is 62 years old, and who became unhoused when her mom was moved into senior housing. Sandy has been living in her car on and off for over 10 years. She adopted a female rescue dog named “Missing” as an emotional support animal and companion. The two of them have been enrolled in SafeSpaces for over three years. During the “Rapid Rehousing Wave” and pandemic, Sandy did not qualify for an emergency housing voucher. She has been on the Section 8 voucher waitlist for 10 years. Her ageing motor vehicle developed problems that were too costly to repair, and the AFC SafeSpaces host site embraced her as their own.
Earlier this month something unexpected and wonderful happened. At another AFC member church, during a Sunday service homily, the preacher mentioned all the different ways we can help those who are unhoused. One of the examples they gave was of someone donating their RV to an unhoused person. A woman from the congregation named Rose was listening in on Zoom. She said “Suddenly it was like a light bulb went off over my head!” She reached out to the preacher and said she had an RV she would like to donate. The preacher emailed me (Fr. Joseph) from SafeSpaces, inquiring if we could make use of such a gift. I said “You bet!” I immediately thought of Sandy.
The next day, in the rain, I was driving Sandy to meet Rose at her RV. I helped the two of them sign over the title from Rose to Sandy. This was such a lovely, grace filled moment. Sandy was speechless with tears of joy. “Now I can have my granddaughter over and we can color and do projects on this table, in my home! And Missing can lay
on the bed! And I have a stove, and refrigerator, and a heater!” Grace upon grace, indeed. Later Sandy said “My life could not be any better right now, I am so grateful to you and Rose. I have a major upgrade in my life because of
AFC and my family is super happy also.”
As you’re reading this, maybe you know of someone (possibly yourself!) who has a motor vehicle in good condition that they’re not using. You might consider giving someone in our programs a “major upgrade” in their life. Rose was relieved not to have to worry about the low-mileage RV she was no longer using, paying to store it. She said “I feel like a huge weight has been lifted.” And she made two new friends: Sandy and Missing.
Thank you, Rose!