Instilling Hope and Saving Lives
Dear Friend of DCMH,
November is a time of year for reflecting on what we have to be grateful for – home, family, friends, community. This year, we have so very much to be thankful for at DCMH, including opening the doors to new housing for many in our community who have faced multiple struggles and challenges.
We appreciate all who support DCMH and our efforts to improve the lives of the most vulnerable among us. Together, we are providing the structure for many to take the steps needed to bring stability to their own lives, including the life of Ricardo, who now lives in one of the permanent supported micro apartments at Paul’s Place. Here’s Ricardo’s story:
Building a Strong Foundation, Relearning How to Live
Ricardo has a winning smile, a quick laugh, and an easy, comfortable way about him. He is always ready to lend a hand and to offer a positive word of encouragement.
But, it wasn’t always that way.
Ricardo’s dad died when he was 12 years old, his mentally unstable mom couldn’t care for him, and he entered the foster care system where he, struggling to cope with the loss and changes, turned to drugs and alcohol. The downward spiral lasted more than 20 years, with much of that time spent homeless or incarcerated.
Ricardo said that in those years he felt lost, empty, alone, and hopeless.
When on probation about five years ago, Ricardo was connected to a clean and sober living program that then connected him to Davis Community Meals and Housing.
“Becky (Marigo) saw potential in me, she saw it when I didn’t see it in myself,” Ricardo said.
Becky, our DCMH program supervisor, told Ricardo it wouldn’t be easy, but that she knew he could change his life – if he wanted to and if he committed himself to doing the hard work to make it happen.
“DCMH gave me the structure to help me rebuild, the program helped me build a foundation, it helped me relearn how to live,” he said. “Becky and everyone at DCMH invested in me, they saved my life.”
Ricardo moved into DCMH transitional housing, pursued work, got a part-time job at a Woodland restaurant and that led to a full-time job at Park Winters. He learned how to drive, saved his money, and bought a car. In July, he moved into one of the brand new permanent supportive micro apartments at Paul’s Place.
“It’s unbelievable for me, when I look at where I was and where I am now,” says Ricardo, who now at 39 years old, is living safely housed, working full time and rebuilding key relationships. “I want people to see this is not just about the resources, it’s the hope, it’s the care. DCMH is saving lives, it saved mine.”
Ricardo’s story is one of many that we are celebrating this year. His resilience, determination, and courage were essential to accomplishing his goals, as was the support and connections he found at DCMH.
This is the unique magic of Davis Community Meals and Housing. With your support, our team creates the structure and provides the encouragement that helps those facing challenges create opportunity for themselves.
I am honored to have recently joined DCMH as executive director. It is a privilege to work with the staff and volunteers who, for the last two decades, worked with my predecessor, Bill Pride, to build this life-changing program. Through compassionate connections, formed when people are often at the lowest points in their lives, we are a catalyst for individuals to move toward sobriety, mental health treatment, stable employment, and safe, supportive housing.
Our team serves on the front lines, offering a resource center, emergency shelter, transitional housing, and permanent supported housing at Paul’s Place. We provide much-needed permanent supported housing at Creekside and Cesar Chavez apartments. We staff the cold weather shelter in cooperation with the City of Davis and many community partners. We continue our meals program in partnership with St. Martin’s Episcopal Church. We offer our clients respect and support, as well as daily essentials such as showers, socks, food, hygiene products, referrals to services, and the encouragement needed to do the hard work of moving toward stability and independence.
As we move into the holiday season, I ask for your support as we continue this life-saving work. Your contribution will help us expand our impact and ensure more successes like Ricardo’s.
Tracy Fauver, LCSW
P.S. Our Board of Directors is hosting a reception on December 6, 2023, from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm at El Macero Country Club (44571 Country Club Dr.) to give me an opportunity to meet many of the DCMH friends and supporters who make stories like Ricardo’s possible. I hope to see YOU there!