9. When people are housed, we all benefit

Rebekah Sammet was living in our Integrity Housing program when she agreed to speak at the Grand Opening of the Laure Reichek Housing Hub in July. She talked about how having permanent housing changed her life and the life of her two-year-old daughter.

“I’ve lived in our house with my daughter Rosabella for almost a year. We live in a large house with several roommates. I grew up in Santa Rosa and much of my extended family lives here. When I was a child, there was a lot of turmoil in my family life. We were homeless several times.

“I’m grateful that Rosabella, who is two, won’t have memories of homelessness. We had to evacuate for several weeks during the fires, and I noticed that the upheaval made her anxious and nervous.

“Seeing that, and coming up on our one-year anniversary in our house—I’ve been thinking…thinking about what stable housing does for a child and for an adult. I can see that for Rosabella having a home makes her secure. She’s fearless about going to preschool. She’s not clingy because she knows I’ll be there, and her house will be there at the end of the day. When we drive around town, she calls out the names of our relatives who live nearby. When we’re near Snoopy’s Skating Rink, that’s “Grandma Irene.” Bennet Valley is “A.J.” She’s at home here.

“For me, I notice that without the weight of homelessness, I can actually start thinking about my future.

“Since moving in, I’ve been promoted at my job at an auto parts store, and I’m able to really take stock of my talents and skills and think about what I want to do. I’m very good at helping people, and whatever my future holds I want it to include that.  I know one other thing for sure: once Rosabella is in school, the future involves more school for me.

“Having a place to live has also allowed me space to pursue my passions and creativity.  For one thing, I’m working on making a butterfly garden—something I’ve wanted to do for years.

“It means a lot for me to be able to stay here in Santa Rosa. Just like Rosabella, I feel rooted here. I’m glad that—through this office—others will get the same opportunity to stay. “

Since speaking at the Housing Hub’s Grand Opening, Rebekah has moved to a shared rental with family members. She just finished her first semester at the junior college, where she earned straight As! She is also serving on the Leadership Council of Home Sonoma County, the task force that is making decisions about how to allocate resources for the homeless throughout the county.  “I am excited to put my focus onto the issue of homeless crisis in Sonoma County and help create whatever we can!” she says.

Thanks to your support, our entire county will benefit from Rebekah’s experience, energy and curiosity. Thank you!

Rebekah speaking at the Laure Reichek Housing Hub Grand Opening