By Shyhene Brown

June 1, 2019

I can remember the first time I went to the navigation center. It was a long process getting documents ready to working with my case manager and going through the whole process. Yes, it was hard at the time, but now I’ve got keys to my own place.

It’s a big change from the navigation center. Like the navigation center, I can come and go when I want — the only thing is I have to check in after three days. The difference between my spot and the nav is that you have more responsibilities, like paying your rent and making sure you have food in the fridge.

Also, you’re not around a lot of people. It’s you and your own space.

Since moving in my own spot, I’ve gained a new sense of serenity and peace. I can open my own door knowing that no one is in my place but me. I also have to clean my house for inspection every month, just like the nav, ha ha!

On a more serious note, I’m hella glad for my spot. When I first came out here, I never thought I would have living space to call my own. Someone gave me a chance and saw something in me to bring me off the street and help me obtain the proper things to get me housed. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all fun and games, nor was it smooth sailing going through the process, but with perseverance and the motivation from my case managers, I learned how to be humble and open-minded to their suggestions, and that’s why I’m now housed.

So for that one individual who feels like there is no hope in getting housing, I’m a walking testimony that the process is real. Yes, it’s hard but in the end I can sit here and honestly say I’m in a room of my own. I just want to humbly say “thank you” to all the case managers at the Civic Center Hotel, Kelley Cutler and the people at the Coalition on Homelessness, and my God who played a major part in getting me my own place. Thank you, guys!

An aerial view of San Francisco by Steve Jurvetson, Flickr