Rick Fisher gets a home, after struggling with housing and health

Rick Fisher loves his three dogs. Even when he was struggling to keep a roof over his head, the dogs were always on his mind. “Deuce and Saucy are like husband and wife,” he said, on a recent afternoon. Fisher, 55, has had the two pit bulls for more than 13 years. He got his third dog, Trey, more recently, … Read More

Fund helps immigrant family find ‘better future’ in Oakland

Abdul Nasiri, his wife and four children left Kabul in 2016 for a new life in Oakland with only several changes of clothes. They wanted to save most of the space in their suitcases for their children’s academic accomplishments — report cards, certificates of achievement and medals they’d won. “We left because of the war … those conditions,” Nasiri, 47, … Read More

Formerly homeless single father gets help with rent

A year ago, Ariel Juarez was alone on Christmas Day at a San Jose homeless shelter and, in his words, “curled up on my bedroll, waiting for time to pass by.” Juarez’s son, Orion, then 5 years old, was spending the holidays with his mother. Juarez was mourning the recent and unexpected death of his father after a surgical procedure. … Read More

Season of Sharing picks up single dad after his serious fall

Joshua Perez had fallen off a ladder before, because falling off ladders happens when you’re a building contractor. He had fallen off tall ladders and he had fallen off very tall ladders, all while he was on the job. Those were times when he was covered by insurance. Fortunately, those times he wasn’t hurt. Some months ago, he fell off … Read More

Food banks expand efforts in wake of wildfires, putting donations to use

Like firefighters and other emergency responders, Bay Area food banks practice responding to earthquakes, fires and other natural disasters. So when a firestorm swept through Wine Country in early October, displacing thousands of families, the Redwood Empire Food Bank knew what to do. The Santa Rosa food bank called its counterparts in the nine Bay Area counties and asked for … Read More

Sonoma County fires can’t keep longtime volunteer away from her work

Wildfires were still raging across Sonoma County the morning Barbara Toschi decided to go to work anyway. Less than 48 hours before, her Alexander Valley ranch had been in the crosshairs of the Tubbs and Pocket fires. She and her husband had packed up their cars and prepared to leave. The evacuation orders came twice. Still, they stayed. Then: Nothing. … Read More

Amid health woes, finding inspiration in music

Music has always been important to Rosita Watson. The youngest of nine sisters and two brothers, she grew up in a close-knit religious family in Oakland. Her father was a pastor, her mother taught piano and her older sisters Betty, Mary, Shirley and Macletus formed a gospel singing group, the Watson Sisters, whose 1963 album “Glory Train” earned a four-star review in Billboard magazine. … Read More

A cancer patient finds joy

Ronald Calbert’s small home in West Oakland is filled with toy cars, tiny helicopters, colorful balls and various scooters. His walls are papered with a child’s hand-drawn pictures of rainbows, wobbly printed notes of greeting and Raiders stickers. This is not the home of a man who has given up hope. “This young man’s presence in my life keeps me positive,” Calbert … Read More

Grandmother finds housing help

Eula Sims keeps her home neat. She has her Bibles, which she reads often. She pins a few unframed photographs of her children on the wall next to her daybed. She keeps a dish out with peppermint candy in it. And she makes room for a pink stuffed teddy bear that she says reminds her of her grandson. There’s nothing … Read More

Fast countdown to homelessness

Not many people can point to the exact cause of suddenly becoming homeless, much less put a number to it. For Tri-Nu Little, the number was 31. That’s the number of days it took her rent to increase by $650, a more than 60 percent jump in monthly payments, made insurmountable by the building owner’s decision to stop accepting Section … Read More