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Rebound: Angela & the Outreach Center

Posted at 5:00 PM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 18:47:13-04

“I spent a weekend, outside in the park,” recalls Angela Anguiano, “and I reached out to the Outreach Center on a Monday, and they welcomed me with open arms.”

Lafayette’s Angela Anguiano had lost everything: She was homeless, and any hope she had of changing that seemed very, very distant.

In December of 2018, Anguiano lost her house and everything in it in a fire. She and her daughter bounced around from friend-to-friend; she got an apartment, but then suffered a brain hemorrhage, couldn’t work, and was subsequently evicted last August.

Then, for two long days, she stayed and slept in a Lafayette park. Homeless. “It was scary,” she remembers. “Overwhelming. Disheartening. It was probably one of my darkest hours.”

But then came hope. She found the Outreach Center in Lafayette, moved in with her teenaged daughter, connected with Outreach staff, and began… rebuilding her life. “I was kind of encouraged,” Anguiano smiles. “Suddenly, there was hopefulness and reestablished faith in myself because that was important, and it never felt like a handout.” She pauses for a second. “It was more like coming into an extended family.”

“We brought her into the shelter and provided her with the basic needs of food and clothing, worked with her,” says Outreach Center director Bruce Gilcrease, “and we really helped her walk through step-by-step to overcome some of the obstacles that are in place.”

The obstacles the Outreach Center helped her breach were those that typically stop someone from being able to get a home of their own, things like having a job or medical issues. And there’s good news:

This past February, Anguiano was able to move out of the shelter, and call a house.. her new home. “The world was lifted off my shoulders. It was the best day, being able to tell my daughter we had a home.”

And helping to facilitate that kind of thing, is one of the core missions of the Outreach Center. “It’s why we do what we do,” adds Gilcrease. “To be able to see people come from homelessness and be able to have their own house, and have their own home.”

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