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 always worked extra hard to support his family. However, after being let go from his job as a Lead Electronic Assembly Specialist, Patrick became unable to pay his rent and he and his family ended up losing their home. While Patrick’s two older children were able to live with their biological mother, Patrick, his fiancé, and their five children had no other option but to live out of their car. After the car was repossessed, Patrick and his family were forced to live 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. His fiancé and five kids would sleep in shelters that only allowed women and children. Patrick was fine sleeping outside the shelter as long as he knew his children were out of harm’s way. One night, after attending a birthday party for one of Patrick’s older sons, the family missed their check-in time at the shelter.
“We had to sleep outside with the babies. They were crying and cranky and it was cold out. I made sure that they were covered with blankets.” The family searched for a part of town that was not visible to passersby and stayed there for the night. “That’s the worst memory—worrying about 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
After that night, Patrick put his name on the list for shelter at Father Joe’s Villages and the family was able to move in just a few months later. Patrick no longer had to stress about finding a safe place for his kids to sleep at night. He enrolled their three youngest children into Father Joe’s Villages’ Therapeutic Childcare Center.
Having skilled professionals caring for their kids during the day meant that Patrick and his fiancé 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 at Father Joe’s Villages extremely beneficial, and 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
When Patrick’s children joined the Therapeutic Childcare Program, Patrick’s 4-year-old son began exhibiting behavioral problems and anger issues. His son would not communicate with other kids and exhibited some violent displays of aggression against teachers. Fortunately, the professional team of Child Development Specialists and Mental Health Clinicians in the Therapeutic Childcare Program stepped in to help. Patrick’s son was able to receive support and treatment to ensure he developed healthy coping mechanisms and behaviors. Patrick’s son was given the communication skills he needed to effectively express himself.
“We’ve seen such a difference in his behavior. I am so proud of him,” Patrick says.
A Family’s New Hope
Finding Light During Dark Times
Patrick and his fiancé are working hard for a brighter future for their family. Patrick’s fiancé 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.
“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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