We are so excited to bid one of our long standing tenants farewell as he successfully secured an apartment in the private market. This is no easy feat in San Francisco. He created stability for himself while at the Star and has a great job and a full life. With the support of San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing’s Moving On Initiative, Eric secured a Section 8 voucher reserved for tenants in supportive housing who no longer need our services. In early September 2017, we sat down with Eric to chat about his experience in DISH housing, his job as a manager of a cafe, and his passion for remote control cars.
“My best experience is having a roof over my head. There’s nothing like having shelter.”
My name is Eric. I’ve been living at the DISH for 6 and a half years. I’ve lived in San Francisco all my life. I was born in Bayview-Hunters Point. When I left the shelter and I got this place, it was nice. It was a really good step for me. It kept me off the streets. As soon as I came in, I got pretty busy. I mean, I’m no angel, I had my ups and downs, but it’s been GOOD. It’s been really good.
Since moving in to DISH housing, I’ve grown up a lot. I started volunteering at the San Francisco General Hospital. Then I became a peer mentor and then I became the manager. Then I got another promotion and got the manager’s position at the café at 1380 Howard. That’s where I am. It’s great. I love it. I cook every day. I’m on my feet 8 hours a day, just about. When I get home I’m tired, I’m wore out. So there’s no time to be running around getting into some crazy stuff. Most of the time I come home, close the door and lock it. Just me in the room until the next day. Shower and back to work. I can say since I started working, I haven’t had a broke day. I always kept money in my pocket, clothes and shoes. It’s been really, really, really good. The job’s been good to me, I have a really good job. I’m still kinda in the shock stage, you know. ‘Cause I make kinda good money, from where I come from, you know.
I think DISH is a good starting place for people that’s off the street, homeless or out of the shelter. I think it’s a very good starting place. My best experience is having a roof over my head. There’s nothing like having shelter. Especially when you first start. There’s nothing like it. And the communication that you have with the manager. It’s really good to have good communication, and I think I did.
Saturday mornings I like to cook in the kitchen and feed people. I cook fried chicken. I’ve been doing it for a long time. I love cooking. I love feeding people. I’m a people person. The passion came from my moms. I cook for them (residents) while we’re watching TV early in the morning. Wildlife. We watch the wildlife channel. I cook. We eat and talk, laugh and joke around. I will miss Ms. Lois and them, I really will. It was a good opportunity, it was a good place.
For fun, I go out on Saturdays to the park or to the movies. That’s my favorite thing, I go to the movies. I’m into remote control stuff. I have electric cars and drones that go about 55 mph. I take them to Golden Gate Park, sometimes to the horse tracks, sometimes to the beach. Depends on how I feel. People, they love it because they go so fast. It’s FUN, no other feeling, it’s awesome.
As a kid I was always into remote cars. Now they’re not just cars anymore, it’s a hobby. The adrenaline you get from going so fast. You can make ‘em jump and hop and turn flips. They hop over curbs, they run into grass, they into mud, they run into dirt. You name it. It’s hard to stop ‘em. It’s a lot of power. It’s that power. It’s awesome.
I’m a routine person. I’m a time person. I have to remember that going into a new place, you have to not get crazy and wild, you have to just keep doing your routine. I find myself keeping that routine going and then I stay in line. Once I start going all this way and that way, that’s when I mess up. I keep everybody away from me on the weekdays. If you want to call, call on the weekend. Somedays I don’t even answer the phone or nothing because it’s all about me. ME getting me together. You know what I mean. Not people coming in and interrupting your life having you here and there and there. And then here come everything. That’s one of my fears. So I just keep myself in routine, routine, routine.
Moving on is a big change for me. Something I’ve been wanting. To get my own place. Get out of this building. Get my own apartment. And live normal. Nothing like the feeling. First thing I’ll do is DECORATE. I’m kind of a person that likes a lot of what nots and art. I been in that neighborhood when I was young, but it’s a brand new neighborhood for me. It has changed a lot. Right next to the park, though. I’m ready.