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Shelter program offers assistance to families in need

December 25, 2009 11:26:51 PM PST
For so many people across the Bay Area, this has been a very difficult Christmas. Maybe they can't find a job, or are facing foreclosure perhaps both.

This economy has created too many stories of hardship, we can't tell them all. But one story can speak to the big picture.

Jason Rosenberg's 13-month-old daughter is named Nevaeh. That's heaven spelled backwards. But for the past eight months, things have been anything but heavenly for the San Mateo family.

"Work has been real hard, I've been turning in a lot of resumes, about 55 resumes in the last few months and a lot of places aren't hiring," said Rosenberg.

The 32-year-old is an apprentice carpenter. The last job he had ended eight months ago.

His fiancée, Shana Scarborough, gave birth to their daughter Neveah last June and that's when she last earned a pay check working a counter at a local restaurant.

"I'm just trying to stay optimistic. and continue looking for work. I do want to start working again regardless of where it is," she said.

This Christmas, the family is getting assistance from the First Step for Families shelter program in San Mateo.

Otherwise they say, they would very likely be homeless. The shelter gives families like theirs a room, food, job search assistance and day care for when the parents are searching for a job or working.

They even gave some gifts to Neneveah. This shelter is now home to 39 families -- about 130 men women and children.

"We have at least 140 families on the waiting list," said Tina Gallardo from Step for Families.

Shana says they are very grateful for the help they've received and hope to get back on their feet as soon as the economy permits.

"It's hard but I try to stay happy all the time, regardless of what I'm going through," She said.

She says being out of work for so long is taking a toll on an otherwise solid relationship.

"It's been rough on the relationship. We have argued more than we usually have and we've been together going on six years and we never argued until recently because we're both getting frustrated looking for work," She said.

Shana says she's going back to school so she can start a day care center. She and Jason would like to be in their own home next Christmas.


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