“I lost a lot of friends serving time, but I’ve met a lot of wonderful women here.”

Holly’s story is not uncommon for SLSD, as this is Holly’s second time living with at SLSD. Holly was out on bail in 2015, and she is grateful for SLSD because most housing programs did not want a resident under those circumstances. After serving a two-year prison sentence for a non-violent crime, Holly was paroled to her father’s house. Holly explains her relationship with her father as difficult because of his alcoholism and abusive tendencies. Finally, Holly’s parole officer realized how bad her living situation was for her mental health and allowed her to move back to San Diego. Holly still had no place to go since her mother lives in a senior home, and she could only stay with her mom for a very short period. Holly reached back out to SLSD in hopes for an opening and reacceptance. Holly said, “this is the only place that was able to take me, that was okay with my background and everything I had been through.”

"I absolutely believe SLSD lives up to its mission."

Since being back at SLSD, Holly really likes the fact that she’s made new friends, “I lost a lot of friends serving time, but I’ve met a lot of wonderful women here.” Holly also enjoys the daily dinners, as she does not fancy herself as much of a cook.

“I absolutely believe SLSD lives up to its mission. You all are non-judgmental and willing to accept so many different people from different walks of life, no matter the situation. I know there’s women here that don’t really talk to their families so it’s nice that they still get to celebrate the holidays and birthdays here with everyone. It definitely feels like a small family.”

Holly is also learning to be more social because other residents have gotten her more involved in the community. As a result, she now feels more comfortable going out. Holly also spoke of her position as a Resident Volunteer. “As an RV, I have learned to be more assertive which I’ve always struggled with. Sometimes I can’t even speak up for myself, so when I have to remind someone of a rule it’s really good for me to have that practice.” Like Marilyn, Holly says she doesn’t mind her chores either. She recognizes that it helps foster independence and healthy habits of maintaining her own place that she will need when she leaves SLSD.

“When I think of SLSD, I think of support and safety. When I was separating from my ex-husband, the staff always put my safety first and really helped me through that tough time. I don’t know if any other place could help me feel that security both physically and emotionally.”