Fernando joined the ACOF community in 2021 and currently resides in the community of South Los Angeles. After experiencing the loss of his then former wife and losing his will to live, he regained his strength and faith and found his forever home within ACOF.

Fernando made California his home in 1972, and in 1980 he became married and started to raise a family. But his time of bliss was cut short, in 1984 his then former wife passed away due to cancer, throwing him into a downward spiral. “Thinking about her passing gives me chills to this day. I went off the deep end, got into drugs because I did not care about anything anymore. I was abusing alcohol and drugs as a way to cope with her passing, but little did I know that I was making my situation worse. She died in 1984, I will never forget that day.”

Fernando became homeless, sleeping on benches, in tents, and going from one shelter to the next, spending over five years homeless. Fernando states, “sometimes I still dream about it, it was a cold situation, it was horrible.” Fernando was able to gain the strength to pick himself up and out of his current situation, quoting his children as his source of strength. “It was because of my kids that I came to my senses. I love my kids, it was my kids that got me out of the situation I was in. I could not keep living like this and thinking about my kids. I did not want my family to see me like that.”

Tired and fearful of his well-being, Fernando began his journey to find housing, ultimately finding him forever with ACOF. “I did not want to live in tents anymore, I needed something to get me off the streets.” Fernando was extremely happy to settle into his new home, and has made it a personal goal of his to ensure his place is well-maintained. Fernand states, “I love this place, I have my couch, my table, I have my lamps. I wake up in the morning and its indescribable. This place is no nice, I don’t do anything like smoke cigarettes or drink, I am keeping my place nice and do not want to do anything to change that. I am taking care of my health, I am going every day to take care of all of my appointments and my case manager always help me when I need the help.”

“Be dedicated to what you want in life, you will get it, but you have to be dedicated.”