“Be prepared to work harder than you’ve ever worked. There will be days of difficulty, doubt and frustration — days when you want to quit and say, ‘I’ve had enough. How am I ever going to move the needle further?’ Stay the course.”
When I was 54, I started Illumination Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps homeless people in Southern California find stable housing and access health care. Over the past decade, we have provided 1 million safe shelter nights of stay, and 46,378 families and individuals have been helped through our services.
The problem I’m trying to solve
There are currently 62,000 people in Southern California who are homeless or in unstable living situations. Illumination Foundation was founded 11 years ago to break the cycle of homelessness that prevents people from overcoming their circumstances and leading successful lives.
We provide emergency housing to families right off the street and temporarily house homeless adults in recuperative care facilities after discharge from the hospital. We also oversee permanent housing beds spread out among 44 scattered-site apartments and 16 micro-communities, which are intended to foster close relationships between families. In addition, we partner with landlords to find permanent housing for clients with records of eviction, substance use, mental illness or incarceration, or credit issues.