Ivy Senior Apartments is a proposed project for San Diego's Clairemont neighborhood and will be designed and operated with the same commitment to quality care as our other communities such as: Wakeland's Atmosphere, Talmadge Gateway, and PATH's NoHo Senior Villas, Del Rey and Long Beach & 21st Apartments.
REAL PEOPLE. REAL STORIES.
Bruce, a Vietnam veteran originally from Cape Cod, was working as a building supervisor in a big upscale building on B Street in downtown San Diego. He loved his job and made a good salary. He could live comfortably and still put some money into his savings every month. He worked hard, cherishing his independence, never drinking or doing drugs, and counted himself fortunate. Until 2014, when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
While undergoing cancer treatment, Bruce suffered a brain aneurysm and stroke. He was hospitalized and unable to work, undergoing frequent surgeries and treatments. The savings he’d worked so hard to put away was depleted with astonishing speed. When he was eventually released from the hospital he tried to return to work, but was soon let go. Shortly after, Bruce suffered a heart attack and was re-hospitalized. When he woke up, he found himself alone. Everyone he’d counted as a friend had disappeared.
When he was released from the hospital a second time, it was to the street. Bruce no longer had a home to go to. He had no friends or family on whom he could call. He searched and searched for a place to lease with the little money he had left. He found nothing. He couldn’t afford to rent even the smallest, dingiest apartment. At 67 years old, Bruce was officially homeless.
In February 2017, still homeless, Bruce was again admitted to the hospital, this time with internal bleeding. He was diagnosed with anemia and stabilized, then released back to the street. Leaving the hospital, Bruce passed a resident from his old building on B Street. The two men spent a few minutes catching up. Bruce didn’t tell his friend that he was homeless, but mentioned that he was looking for something to do with his days. The friend recommended Serving Seniors’ Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center as a starting place.
There, Bruce discovered social activities, learning opportunities and – perhaps most importantly – the housing services. Eventually, Bruce was set up with a social worker and had access to medical services, nutritious food and a compassionate team of people who truly cared for his wellbeing.
With his social worker’s help, Bruce was able to leave the street behind, and in mid-2017, he moved into a supportive housing community. He still doesn’t drink or do drugs. He volunteers as an advocate for homeless support programs and affordable housing, and he wants to go back to work. Bruce is justifiably proud of how far he’s come, and radiates gratitude for the team that has helped him get there. With his social worker’s encouragement and steady support, he’s learned to believe in himself again.
“I’ve only ever wanted a clean, safe place to live, with a kitchen of my own,” Bruce said, with a catch in his voice and teary eyes. “I’ve come so far.”
“You could be a working person, lose a job, miss a payment, then 3 months later be homeless.”
Danny was an investment banker with a major company. At 50 he was energetic and working, as he says, “eight days a week” on very little sleep. But when his bank merged with another large institution he lost his job and his busy schedule came to a sudden halt.
Finding work in his fifties proved more challenging than he thought.
Without steady paychecks he soon fell behind on rent. College educated with a Master’s degree, Danny was in a position he never thought he’d find himself in…homeless.
He was trying to survive on his savings, and the generosity of his friends and the comfort of their couches. But it wasn’t the same as having his own home. He started numbing the stress of losing his place and not being able to find work through substance abuse, which only compounded his situation.
“I let myself - convinced myself - my life was over. I spent about a good year bouncing around and hating myself.”
After a year of bouncing around and with the prospect of sleeping on the sidewalk in sight, social services referred Danny to PATH. He stayed in PATH’s interim housing and worked at a Ralph’s in Santa Monica for a year – a stark contrast to his previous lifestyle. While staying at PATH he discovered he had a mental health issue, but no one had ever questioned his previous behavior or offered help. He sought professional counseling and with almost perfect timing, he learned that LaKretz Villas, a supportive housing community in Los Angeles, was being built and looking for tenants. He was one of the first residents to move in.
Danny wants to start his own small practice so he can hire other people who may have been in his situation, and influence other small businesses.
“That’s what I want to do for the time I have left,” he says. “I’ve had a lot of encouragement here and I’m turning it around.”
Dalton has a skill for cooking, entertaining, and inspiring people to come together in a community setting. But that joyous, upbeat life was difficult to maintain when he found himself in a destructive relationship that ultimately led him to lose his home.
After navigating the challenges of homelessness, he found PATH and PATH Ventures, and became a resident of LaKretz Villas, a supportive housing community in Los Angeles.
“When I first got my key, I didn’t think it was real…I thought it was a joke, like someone was going to take it,” Dalton said.
After settling into his new place, he soon became an enthusiastic tenant, planning community events such as barbeques and holiday get-togethers.
But he had a lot of personal development to do. After working on overcoming personal challenges, he is now more than 6 months sober and is focusing on giving back to the community by pursuing a career in social services and possibly becoming a case manager for youth. He looks forward to obtaining his Masters degree and helping other people who may be in similar situations he experienced.
“I’ve got something that’s priceless. Somebody’s taken the time to answer the phone for me. To show up for me…I can love me. And I can love other people. And I can help other people as well as helping myself.”
Dalton, with a pile of coursework in front of him