She had been around for some time. Fourteen years. She refused offers of assistance, giving the inquirer a friendly smile.
Her home was the entrance of the public library on Ventura Avenue. It was there that she sat with a cart holding her belongings. She frequented the donut shop across the street where the proprietor graciously gave her a cup of coffee and a donut.
Susan was homeless. Her refusal of help was something we at Project Understanding hear frequently. But we’ve learned to be persistent, to never stop offering.
Fariborz Koozehkanani, better known as Hank, our Homeless to Home (H2H ) program supervisor, kept an eye out for Susan as it was obvious her health was declining. One day he saw her sitting at a bus stop, obviously in need. This time Hank’s offer of help was not refused. Susan had an open sore on her leg and the infection was spreading throughout her body. She was immediately hospitalized and successfully treated.
It takes a village. Susan agreed to receive help, and in came Ventura County Homeless Services. Susan would need financial aid to end her homelessness. They found it for her.
Persistence, determination, and a village equals a hand up, not a handout. It resulted in a mother reunited with her son and one less person living on the street.
Susan, we believe in you, thank you for taking our hand. We thank God for Hank, for Ventura Homeless Services, for the entire village…