Success Story: Julie and ECHO

ECHO, El Camino Homeless Organization is a transitional shelter in Northern San Luis Obispo County that is helping families and individuals find permanent housing. ECHO is for people who are ready to make a change in their lives. People like Julie.

Julie and her daughters moved into ECHO at the end of March. ECHO Case Managers helped Julie apply for a Housing Choice Voucher through HASLO. Julie also worked with a financial counselor from her church to create a plan for paying off debt and budgeting for her future.

Since Julie was recently sober, she enrolled in a Drug/Alcohol program and began taking classes twice a week. With help from Department of Social Services she enrolled her daughters into daycare through CAPSLO head start program. She found employment through the DSS work program called Welfare to Work and began working immediately part time. After she completed the program she secured full time work.

ECHO helped Julie transition temporarily into Anna’s House. This was a great place for her because she was living with other women in similar circumstances and had use of the kitchen, had her own room and bathroom with her girls, and had a great support system from other women living at the house.

ECHO Case Managers continued to check in with her during her 2 months at Anna’s home and helped her fill out applications for various apartments that would accept her voucher. She found housing at the end of October and moved into her new apartment on November 1st.

ECHO gave Julie and her girls a second chance and his story is just one example of a life positively affected by ECHO.

Charlie and Greg: Success at CASA

Did you know there are over 500 kids in our county who are under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court and need a Court Appointed Special Advocate? CASA advocates make recommendations to the court, based on the best interest of the children.

Let us share with you what that looks like for a child in our community. CASA volunteer Greg has been advocating for Charlie, a 17-year-old. Charlie’s mother is deceased and he has had no contact with his biological father and very limited contact with other relatives.

Charlie has been in 7 foster homes in the past 5 years. His autism diagnosis has added more complexity to his case. Transition is hard enough for any child, but for youth with autism, it’s monumental. Greg has made these foster home transitions much easier by being a stable, consistent and caring presence for Charlie.

Greg spends quality time with Charlie and takes him into the community every week, helping him feel more comfortable in new situations. They go bowling, to the archery range, play board games, go shopping, and play at the park. Greg has also been instrumental in keeping Charlie connected with some of his extended family members. Greg also holds the Educational Rights for Charlie. He attends all of the educational meetings to advocate for his best interests and is in regular contact with his teachers.

As Charlie gets closer to graduating high school, Greg is starting to focus his efforts on ensuring that Charlie receives services to help him gain needed independent living skills.

This is just one example of lives positively affected by a CASA volunteer advocate.