HomeAid Orange County

Employment Empowers Change

by Natalie Julien, Executive Director, Thomas House Family Shelter

November 18, 2017

It can happen to anyone and it did to millions of Americans over the past decade during the great recession – the loss of a job suddenly caused you and your family to become homeless. I invite you to read the following three stories of success, as families were empowered to regain a life of self-sufficiency and climb out of homelessness through employment.

A Single Mom Becomes Independent

The story of a single mother of two who recently came to us from a domestic violence shelter is one of the most tragic we have encountered. The family escaped and fled their home because the father had repeatedly tortured the mother in the presence of their children. She is permanently scarred as a result of this abuse. Thankfully, Thomas House has been able to provide them with a new beginning. Today, the mother owns an independent home-cleaning business, and is beginning to rebuild her life. Meanwhile, her children are thriving both socially and academically. In the words of the teenage son, “This place is awesome!”

The Blessed Family of Seven

Already blessed with four children, Francisco and Maricela were shocked to discover that another baby was on the way. The pregnancy was high risk, forcing Maricela to quit her job, and the added expenses burdened this hard-working family. Still, they were determined to keep their apartment. That changed when Francisco lost his wallet, which contained his rent and car payments, along with his entire earnings for the month. Unable to cover rent, the family of seven was evicted.

During their time at Thomas House, this upbeat and friendly family showed immense gratitude for the opportunity to rebuild their lives. Today, both parents are working again and have moved into their own apartment! Thomas House will continue to offer them supportive services, such as supplemental food and Maricela and Francisco will attend parenting classes while the children are tutored by volunteers.

A Single Mother’s Reflection on Success

At age 22, Lily was struggling to overcome substance abuse and give her four-year-old son a chance for success. When she first heard about Thomas House, she knew our program would give her the tools she needed to become truly independent. Today, Lily is in her mid-forties, working towards her life-long dream of earning a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology, and she still credits Thomas House with giving her a solid foundation to rebuild her life.


Do you have job opportunities you can offer to the homeless? Consider working with a local shelter to offer their clients employment so they can regain a life of self sufficiency.


HomeAid has been working to end homelessness in collaboration with Thomas House Family Shelter since 1990. Thomas House programs are recipients of HomeAid Essentials donations and other HomeAid Community Outreach activities.