Breaking the Cycle of Family Homelessness Through Healthy Habits

Jun 25 2019
Raphael House
Christina (left) and Della at Raphael House in 1999. They experienced homelessness after an eviction. Today, they each have their own apartment in San Francisco.

When Della Tarantino and her family were evicted from their San Francisco apartment due to a building sale, she was devastated. It was 1999, and nearly impossible to find affordable housing in the Bay Area. Unable to make ends meet, Della was forced to send two of her boys to Guatemala to be with family. She and her teenage daughter Christina were forced to stay in local hotels.

“There was drug use going on all around us, and the hotel blankets were so dirty,” Della says. “Losing your home creates an atmosphere of anxiety and stress. Without a stable place, it tears your family apart because everyone has to separate.”

After three months of uncomfortable and unsafe hotel stays, Della and Christina were accepted into Raphael House, and say it felt like a home as soon as they walked through its doors.

Christina’s daughter Angela and her youngest son Angel at Raphael House’s monthly birthday party celebration.

Della immediately took advantage of the extensive services Raphael House offered. With the help of case managers, she attended apartment open houses, and through Raphael House’s Comprehensive Savings plan, she secured more than $4,000 in savings before leaving the Residential Shelter Program.

Today, Della and Christina each have their own apartments in San Francisco. Inspired by the healthy meals from Raphael House’s kitchen, they buy fresh food at the grocery store, and they continue to budget wisely to increase their savings. Just recently, Christina’s daughter Angela attended Raphael House’s annual college campus tour trip—an opportunity available to teenagers in our Bridge Program.

Christina (left), her kids, and Della are stably-housed in San Francisco. They continue to practice the healthy habits they’ve learned at Raphael House.

Della and Christina’s story shows that families who find housing through Raphael House are able to sustain stable housing using the skills they develop under our roof. They continue to develop healthy habits and life skills through participation in the Bridge program, ensuring that the generational cycle of homeless is stopped and not experienced by their children.

With homelessness on the rise in the Bay Area, Raphael House’s supportive services are needed more than ever. You can help Bay Area families like the Tarantinos achieve stable housing and financial stability.

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