Rosa & Daniel's Story

Rosa and Daniel came to Paso Robles with their three young children to live with her relatives. “My mother really wanted all of the family to live together,” Rosa said. They had been struggling financially in Riverside, and they thought the move would be good for the family.

Rosa and Daniel both found employment and things seemed to be going well until they were asked to leave due to a problem with their mother’s rental agreement. “We moved into a motel and we thought we would find a place quickly,” Rosa said. However, there was nothing available for rent that they could afford. “The money I earned everyday just paid for the motel,” said Daniel. What savings they had quickly diminished and they hit a crisis point after a month. “I was crying and crying from desperation. The children did not eat that day because I had no money to feed them,” said Rosa. “Someone told me about ECHO and I decided to call. We feel very blessed that ECHO was there for us that day.”

“…The children did not eat that day because I had no money to feed them,” said Rosa.

Daniel is a proud man and he did not want to come to a homeless shelter. “My highest priority in life is taking care of my wife and children. So, coming to ECHO was difficult for me,” he explained. “This is a facility and it has many rules. I completely understand that, but always in the back of my mind I kept thinking that I need to take my family home. I wanted us to be independent.” Rosa and Daniel began working with their case manager, Maribel Luna, who counseled them about local programs and resources that could help. She also helped them develop a plan to overcome their homeless situation. “The first thing we saved for was a car. ECHO helped us with bus passes, but we knew we needed transportation to be successful,” Daniel said.

While at ECHO, they shared a family room with a grandmother and her grandchild. “We called her Grandma Patty. She was a peacemaker. She knew how to teach people how to get along,” said Rosa. “I was sad to see her leave, but, of course, happy that she had a home.” The family learned many social skills while living at ECHO. “My husband and I learned how to be understanding and tolerant of different people. Our kids learned about sharing and being respectful of others,” she said. Down the street from ECHO is Atascadero Bible Church. While attending a service, a request was made for volunteers. “The ECHO staff and volunteers had been so good to us, we wanted to give back somehow. So we started volunteering at the church,” Rosa explained.

They lived at ECHO for five months until finding an apartment through HASLO, Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo County. They now receive help with child care through CAPSLO, Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County.   “We feel so blessed that we found ECHO.  My employer never knew I was homeless,” explained Rosa. “And Maribel helped us to stay focused on what we needed to do to have our own home again.” Daniel is also thankful for ECHO and for the chance to get back on track. “We try to look at the bright side of things,” said Daniel. “While staying here, Rosa and I learned to be a better team and to work together. We are working on our finances and a budget. It has been very hard, but we feel stronger for it.” Their rent will be $1200 a month and the couple feels confident that they can manage financially. Having a place to call home is their dream come true. Rosa had cooked her first meal in five months that morning. “It was only eggs and hot dogs,” she laughed. “But it meant so much to me.”

Miles Nelson