When you enter her small apartment in Rodeo, California, Nancy Wright is all smiles. You can instantly tell she is happy, and feels safe where she lives. This is important, because Nancy was living on the street at 60 years old. Nancy has worked tremendously hard to get off the street. Nancy is clean from drugs, she found a good job where she works hard at a local grocery store, and she found a place to live that she can afford with her new job.
But now, because of a broken wrist and a drunken driver, all of Nancy’s amazing progress is under threat. Nancy needs your help to stay in her home, she needs your compassion and kindness now more than ever.
“It took all of my savings and help from St. Vincent de Paul, but I moved into this place on October 6th,” Nancy said. “Right before moving in, I slipped and broke my wrist, and then a drunk driver totaled my car, I haven’t been able to work since then, and I’m not sure how I’m going to pay my rent. I’m scared.”
Nancy’s journey through homelessness has been a scary one, but one also filled with blessings of kindness from strangers in her community that cares. Strangers like you.
“I was homeless for almost 4 years,” Nancy said. “I lived in a tent, a van, and then my car which was just destroyed by a drunk driver. Living in a car wasn’t the worst, but living in a tent was awful. I wasn’t in a good location. Everyone around me was using drugs or drinking, which was hard because I’m in recovery, but I stayed clean. The threats of violence from other homeless people was the worst part though.”
Nancy said she is scared of being homeless again, because now she doesn’t even have a car to live in if she had to go back to living on the streets. Nancy said she is scared she will be living in a tent again soon if she isn’t able to get back to work and start earning again.
“If push came to shove, I could live in a car. It isn’t the most comfortable, but it’s at least safe,” Nancy said. “But I can’t live in a tent again. I think that would just break me. Going through recovery, being around people using drugs is too big of a risk, and the threats were so horrifying.”
Nancy’s journey out of homelessness started with friends she made at a local church. She attends Narcotics Anonymous meetings there, where she has become the secretary of the meetings. Every week, Nancy and other people experiencing homelessness would gather at the church for a free breakfast and access to hot showers. It was there that Nancy met Cindi Erickson, president of the SVdP branch at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Rodeo.
“Nancy is such a strong, and wonderful person,” Cindi said. “My volunteers and I would come down to help distribute food, clothing, and anything we can to help people, and that’s where I met Nancy. Soon enough, she was helping us organize our distributions and helping hand things out to people in need. She has such a big heart. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure Nancy doesn’t end up back on the street.”
Nancy said she is incredibly thankful for all the help that Cindi and the other volunteers at St. Vincent de Paul have provided her. She said she feels like she has been blessed by their kindness and generosity. But, Nancy said, the most important thing they have provided her is someone to talk to and share her troubles with.
“St. Vincent de Paul has helped me so much, I feel so blessed,” Nancy said. “Cindi and the other volunteers have given me food, clothing, and they helped me pay for my deposit so I could get off the street. But honestly just having someone to talk to about life and things has been so amazing. It’s just such a relief to talk to someone that sees you as a person. It’s really restored my faith.”