Real Challenges, Real Successes

Stories From Casa Maria

BOSS’s Casa Maria House provides interim emergency housing for severely disabled individuals as well as Transition Age Youth (age 18-24), in partnership with Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services Agency (BHCS). Located in downtown Oakland, Casa Maria provides case management and clinical support to help residents secure permanent affordable housing, employment, income or other public benefits they are eligible for, health services, and social support, to successfully transition into lasting wellness and self-sufficiency.

Following are some stories from recent Casa Maria residents (not their real names).

Max came to Casa from a mental health rehabilitation facility, homeless and unable to live independently. He was diagnosed with both medical and mental health issues which affected his socialization skills, causing fear and anxiety when around crowds of people. His goals were to stabilize on his medications, obtain employment, and permanent housing. During his first weeks here, his mother died and he became distraught, increasing his isolation from others. Through empathetic work with his housing navigator, case manager, and other support staff, he was able to grieve and talk about his feelings. That same support helped him with his life skills, reduced his fear and anxiety, and eventually, he was able to organize his finances so that he could complete his goals. Gradually, he was able to tend to his family business, obtain employment, and move into permanent housing within three months of arriving at Casa.

Alan was dealing with mental health issues stemming from his time in the military 20-years prior. He talked about his love for his family and especially his niece in Sacramento. He was also dealing with physical health issues, and tried hard to maintain a proper diet and regular exercise. He proactively sought housing and would always follow through when opportunities for housing were available or presented themselves. He continued to express a preference for relocating to the Sacramento area to be close to his niece, and also the housing was more affordable there. Throughout, he never lost focus on his mental and physical health and well-being. At last, he successfully secured housing in Sacramento! He still calls Casa Maria staff from time to time, and we are happy to hear about him adjusting to his new life there.

Rebecca was struggling with drugs and alcohol when she came to Casa Maria, and often gave up due to feelings of helplessness. Staff began to work with her on a daily basis, sharing their own struggles with her to encourage her. She started going to AA meetings and checking in when she was feeling her triggers. She started to really fight for her recovery, and though there were times when she gave up, she learned to get back up and try again. She eventually got stronger in her recovery and got a very important role at Casa Maria: She became a mentor for other participants at Casa Maria. Even though she continues to fight her journey to live a better life, she struggles through it. Recently, she moved in with a friend and continues to struggle with drugs and alcohol, but she now has the tools to not allow it to keep her down. She continues to talk with staff and call her case manager for support. We are proud of her persistence in the face of all obstacles!

To contribute funds to help temporary housing residents across BOSS move into permanent housing, click here. For more information about Casa Maria House, contact Marsha Vaughn, BOSS Director of Mental Health Programs, at (510) 899-4100.