On March 22, 2019, the Perez family arrived in our shelter, homeless but far from hopeless.

“Our landlord decided to sell the home we rented in,” says Marisol. “We tried staying with our daughter for a short time but that didn’t work out. We just needed a soft place to land while we got on our feet.”

And Marisol and her family found that soft and safe place in the Salvation Army Shelter Program.

“The program works, and we’re proof of that,” says Marisol with her million-watt smile. “Living with my daughter made us complacent but being here motivated us to take the steps we needed to in order to secure our own home. It gave us a little time to save the money we needed and to get our heads together.”

Marisol was so motivated that just 3 months later, she and her family moved out of our shelter and into their own rental home. On July 2, 2019, raising her hand to the sky, smiling from ear to ear, Marisol cried victoriously, “We signed our lease and got our keys.”

“When we arrived in the shelter, the biggest heartbreak was leaving our dog Faith with friends. It was so hard to be without her,” Marisol says tearing up. “But one day, God led us to Cari in the front office, who showed us how to get Faith certified as a Service Animal and we listened. Doing that made it much easier for us to secure permanent housing with our baby girl.”

“Marisol and her family were very motivated and followed our program,” said Case Worker, Wanda McGee. “They went job hunting right away and secured employment within a few days. She was a model client and a testament to the success of our program.”

“We were assigned goals and tasks and kept speaking life into our situation,” said Marisol. “Our souls were touched here, and we found a great peace. My husband and I would just sit outside and look at the moon and stars, thankful to God for his many blessings, including leading us to The Salvation Army.”

“It’s one thing to pray, but another to listen to God for the answers,” said Marisol. “Because we listen, my husband Francisco felt moved to lead the Men’s Spiritual Support group here at the shelter,” she said proudly. “It was awesome for the male residents to gather and praise the Lord.”

Not only did Marisol have the professional knowledge to place our residents into permanent housing, she had firsthand experience being homeless; a combination which earned her the job. Upon leaving the shelter program, an opening for Housing Locator opened. Based on her 20 years of Case Management experience, Marisol once again listened to God, applied for the job and got it.

“Marisol was a client’s advocate as a resident in our program,” smiles Director of Housing Programs, Cymanda Robinson. “She would talk to other residents and offer them suggestions and solutions. After talking to our clients, I realized that all the information she was giving to them was correct. So, when the position for Housing Locator opened, I asked her to submit her resume.”

“I’m really impressed with Marisol,” said Cymanda beaming with pride. “She is able to advocate on people’s behalf because she has a burning passion inside of her which she is able to channel into successfully breaking the barriers that have held our clients back.”

That same passion drives Marisol to hold Life Skills classes for our shelter residents, encouraging them to create vision boards, speak daily affirmations and take positive action towards their goals, including permanent and sustainable housing. Coming full circle, Marisol now uses her own victory cry for the clients she locates housing for. “Every client who secures housing reads that sign on the wall,” Marisol said, pointing to a sign on the wall.  It says: I SIGNED MY LEASE AND HAVE MY KEYS!

“God ordained our steps here. I’m in awe of what He has done for us who listen to Him. At one of our lowest and most difficult times, we gave our lives over to God and he led us to Salvation.”