“I’m born and raised in Hayward. Pretty much never left.”

“How’d you get connected with Downtown Streets?”

“A buddy came over to my house one day and was talking about DST getting homeless people housing for working, and I wasn’t on the streets, but my 4 walls was the garage. I just wanted more things to do my life. My friend took me to my first meeting and I never saw him again. I got on the team my 3rd meeting. If you want to better yourself, they’re there for all the support you need. You get what you give but they’re there for homeless people to get back on their feet. They structure them. Have people be on time, no cursing, no jay walking. Just helping better yourself.”

“How has being on DST affected your life?”

“I love the team. Every time I leave I’m happy. I have a lot of support. They helped me with my license and my resume and use finding myself really.”

“What’s something you learned about yourself since working with them?”

“I guess I didn’t give myself enough credit for the fact that I can go above and beyond. I kept myself at a position where I thought I had done all could do, and they help me to go beyond. Like even being here, I know San Francisco is right over there, but I’m only here because of them. They help me try new things…like sushi!”

Tina-4“What was going up in Hayward like?”

“It was hard. I grew up with 4 siblings and my dad worked 3 jobs sometimes. When we got a surprise, it was a surprise. My kids now kinda expect it. My dad was the enforcer, my mom was the nurturer. My parents made us work hard for everything.”

“How was it that you ended up in the garage?”

“I had been a stay at home mom for a long time, I started working June 2015. I had a boyfriend, and we moved back into my house, their father asked me to move back in for my kids sake, my boyfriend got us kicked out of the house. I had been working at the Dollar Tree but I wasn’t doing anything extra. Now they’re talking about moving me up in management. It’s something I really didn’t think I could do but my boss says I have potential. There’s nothing higher for me at the Dollar Tree but Downtown Streets is helping me work on my resume.”


“What’s your proudest accomplishment?”

“I guess I would say graduating from high school would be one of them. Having my 4 kids is another. I’m blessed but I know I can do more. I told my boyfriend I wanted more and he said, ‘What more do you want?’ I couldn’t believe he said that. Now I’m getting more and I don’t even really know how, it’s just coming to me, and that’s kinda scary.”

Tina-2“I used to be involved in running the streets, running amuck. Thank god for my kids dad when I left the house. That was what I thought I wanted to do. I stayed in contact with my kids but one day my kids got their bike stolen from them and it really just eww…I wasn’t out there stealing but I saw people stealing stuff and selling it for drugs. When I saw that happen to my kids it killed me. You don’t never know who you take something from, you know what I mean? So I got outta that. Certain things you go through in life, you don’t really know…until it hits you.”

“My boyfriend is still involved in drugs, and I think it’s made me stronger being around him when I didn’t wanna do it no more. He was always say, ‘Oh you think you’re better than me’ and in my head I would probably say, ‘Yeah, I do really’, but out loud I would say ‘No’. So anyways, we just lost our house. November 18th my house caught on fire. When the fire happened, he ran. He said, ‘The cops are gonna come, I gotta go!’ That’s the only thing I heard, I didn’t hear my daughter crying, nothing. I wanted him out, my kids wanted him out, and now he’s out. Before it was easy to fall back in with him but no more. It put me in a position where I have to be stronger now. I like my life and where it’s headed and I’m not willing to lose it.”

Learn more about Downtown Streets at http://streetsteam.org


February 8, 2017