Photo of Delaine,a woman from Oakland who has experienced homelessness.

Delaine's Story

My life kind of took a turn in 2011 when I couldn’t afford my rent and found myself homeless. I was born and raised in Oakland, got married here, and raised five children. All of a sudden I was a homeless senior citizen.

I was fortunate to have a good friend who told me about St. Mary’s Senior Center. They have a program just for homeless seniors in the winter, and that’s where I went. They had an art class and a writing class, where I took up poetry again, and they had a caseworker who helped me fill out applications for affordable housing. That’s how I ended up here at Merritt Crossing—I won a lottery. St. Mary’s is a good place, but having to sleep on a cot, not being able to lie down when I wanted to, not being able to take a bath when I wanted to, all sorts of people there—it was an experience.