When Patrick and his family were struggling with homelessness, Father Joe’s Villages was there to offer support and resources. Father Joe’s Villages is one of San Diego’s most comprehensive shelters for families experiencing homelessness, providing housing, childcare and a range of other critical resources.
A Father’s Worst Fear
A father of seven children, Patrick has always worked extra hard to support his family. However, after being let go from his job as a Lead Electronic Assembly Specialist, Patrick was unable to pay his rent and he and his family lost their home.
While Patrick’s two older children were able to live with their biological mother, Patrick, his wife, and their five children had no other option but to live out of their car. After the car was repossessed, Patrick and his family slept on the streets.
“It was really hard,” Patrick recalls. “The stress, the depression, feeling like I can’t do anything to fix the situation. It was really depressing watching your kids live that way.”
Like any good father, Patrick selflessly took action to ensure his kids remained safe choosing to split the family up rather than having his wife and children in harm’s way. His family sometimes found space in a shelter that only allowed women and children, while Patrick stayed outside. Occasionally his wife and kids didn’t get a bed at the shelter and they were forced to sleep outside too.
“[The babies] were crying and cranky and it was cold outside. That’s my worst memory—worrying if somebody is going to come by and do something to my kids, and the kids being all cold on the sidewalk.”
Finding Light During Dark Times
All of that changed when Patrick learned about Father Joe’s Villages Family Living Center where families of all shapes and sizes are welcomed. Since moving in, Patrick no longer has to stress about where his kids are going to sleep.
Having skilled professionals caring for their kids during the day meant that Patrick and his wife could focus their time and energy on finding stable work and getting the family back on track.
He and his wife enrolled their three youngest children in Father Joe’s Villages’ Therapeutic Childcare Center. Having skilled professionals caring for their kids during the day meant that Patrick and his wife could focus their time and energy on finding stable work and getting the family back on track.
Patrick found the Therapeutic Childcare and Family Services extremely beneficial. He credits the parenting classes offered through the program with bringing his family closer together.
“The parenting classes helped me understand a different approach of how to manage and discipline my kids,” he explains. “They taught me how to stop playing the ‘bad cop’ who had to constantly reprimand them. My kids now get to see that dad is loving and caring, as well.”
Nurturing a Child’s Potential
Just before Patrick moved in to the Family Living Center, his 4-year-old son began exhibiting behavioral problems and anger issues. When he enrolled in Therapeutic Children his son would not communicate with other kids and exhibited some aggression against teachers.
Thankfully, Father Joe’s Villages Therapeutic Childcare Center addresses each child’s behavioral and developmental needs and delivers a targeted combination of services and support tailored to the unique needs of children who have experienced the trauma that goes hand in hand with homelessness.
Thanks to this approach and individualized attention Patrick’s son received in his preschool classroom from Mr. Mark, one of our Child Development Specialists, Patrick saw a steady change in his son’s behavior. He found new, positive ways to communicate what he needed while also developing new healthy coping mechanisms.
“We’ve seen such a difference in his behavior. I am so proud of him,” Patrick says.
A Family’s New Hope
While his children have a safe, constructive place to play and learn during the day, Patrick and his wife focused on securing a steady income. Patrick’s wife was recently hired at a drug treatment facility and is now working to become a case manager. Patrick spends his days looking for employment and caring for his children once they get home from childcare and school.
With all the tools they need at their fingertips, Patrick and his family are now able to plan for a brighter future.
“I would tell other fathers experiencing homelessness to just don’t give up. You have something better to live for an that’s your kids. They are your motivation.”
Through the family’s struggles with homelessness, Patrick has shown his children that they, too, can endure any obstacles life may throw their way. When asked what Patrick’s favorite thing to do with his children is, he answers: “Everything. As long as they’re happy.”
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