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Forest Sunrays

Our Stories

“Once we have a true revelation that we are loved, valued, and purposed, it becomes difficult to live in such a way that contradicts this truth.” ― Harmony Dust

Our goal is to prevent and end homelessness by providing a safety net for people who can not make it on their own or are having a difficult moment in their life.

Kay Wilson- Bolton

Meet The Tomas Family


The Tomas family (Estevan and Jeronima on the right) is comprised of mom, dad and three littles.  They are shown here signing their rental agreement and receiving the keys to their apartment, thanks to a thoughtful landlord in Camarillo who agreed to give them a chance. The staff at Santa Paula Housing Authority were instrumental in making this happen.  It took intense case management by Spirit case managers, Sabriana Marrufo and Deziree Magana.  Jorge Magana with Buena Vista Property Management.  

Left Behind

The good news, the owners of Tiny and Frozen were able to move into their new apartment.  But their two pups were not able to move with them.  So, they are being fostered until things change. Our shelter welcomes kids and pets.  We know pets bring comfort to people in all stages of life. This is one time when having pets can create roadblocks to permanent supportive housing.  Frozen is Tiny's daughter and she is settling in for a nap after dinner.

Candace and her family 12.2023.jpg

Home for the Holidays

Candace was committed keeping her family together and doing whatever it took to resolve her state of homelessness.  She connected with our case manager, and completed all the forms, made every appointment to be sure she would be considered for permanent, supportive housing.  Today she has a car and a job and is doing what mom's want to do, and that is keeping the family together and enjoying life.

Calm for a Moment

The bond between a dog a loving human speaks for itself. This Harvard guest took a moment to comfort a pup tied to our fence.  it is common for a person experiencing homelessness to want a pet, commonly a dog, for comfort and companionship.  It can be a good thing as long as the dog is healthy, gets its shots and can be kept warm and hydrated.  Reality sets in when the animal gets sick or becomes injured.  Unless someone is willing to foot the bill or an organization steps in to provide care and support, the animal suffers until it dies.  Life is good until it isn't.


Meet Maria


This is what success looks like.  Maria and her daughters called Harvard Shelter on a Sunday afternoon in September of 2022, alone, homeless, without friends or resources... or money.  She asked if we could help them.  We brought them to Harvard, and they settled in to our routine and case management. Maria did everything right. She got her ID, her driver's license, and a job with a local dentist. The girls did well in school, and her emergency housing voucher rose to the top of the list. They moved into their own apartment in May of 2023 and she's modeling the keys! And, she purchased a car on low-to-reasonable credit so she could continue to work.  All she needed was someone to say 'We will help.' Yes, this is what success looks like.

Meet Laura

Laura has been at Harvard Shelter with her two children for three years. She faced challenges different that most but made it. She has a full-time job as SPIRIT's Kitchen Manager. Her daughter is the top math student in her third grade class and Santiago was barely a year old when they came to us. Now the family lives in their own apartment in Ventura and her landlord provides transportation for Laura and gets the kids to school. Laura had a savings plan and a great case manager. When it was time to move, Laura had everything she needed, with some money left over.  This is what success looks like.


Birthday Wish

Birthdays are a big deal at Harvard. Santiago turned four years old in April and an engine from Ventura County Fire Department paid a visit. Santa Paula PD also came by and Santiago and Mia got to rev up the siren, horn and other whistles.  It was a great happy birthday.

We live at the Shelter

This sweet girl lived at Harvard Shelter and is proud of it. Her parents say she is quick to engage people wherever they go, and proclaims "We live at the Shelter." Not "a shelter", but "THE shelter".


Jenny Arana and Liz Perez are faithful volunteers at Harvard, working with the kids to create projects and be happy while they do it. If we can take fear from their lives and show them there are safe places to learn and love, we can break generational tendencies leaning towards hopelessness and poverty. This child's question to Jenny was, "Is this perfect?"  Apparently, perfection is important to her just as where she calls home.

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