For Darrelle Weaver, changing the lives of people experiencing homelessness in Sacramento feels like part of his destiny.
Weaver, a Sacramento Steps Forward (SSF) coordinated entry specialist who works to connect clients to housing and shelter, said his own experience with homelessness and addiction in Sacramento shapes his approach.
Weaver helps the hardest-to-reach clients in Sacramento connect to resources through the coordinated entry system, a streamlined system of housing and shelter resources. While he helps clients find housing, prepares their documentation, provides household supplies and transportation to appointments, he also builds relationships and trust.
He uses his own struggle to inspire and motivate clients to overcome their own obstacles.
“(Having experienced homelessness) puts me on a level playing field because I can understand exactly where clients are coming from,” Weaver said. “I know what it’s like to walk all the way across town to get something done. I know the struggle of trying to get the basic things done and how hard of a task that is to accomplish.”
Weaver said he resolved his own homelessness through faith and tenacity. After he became homeless in 2014, Weaver approached a man who was giving away free phones at Loaves and Fishes about getting a job with the company. He was hired for a Yuba City-based position, and spent four hours each day commuting to work. He was soon promoted to a management position, and saved enough money to secure housing.
Through connections in the community, he was eventually hired at SSF in 2018. His days are varied, and involve working directly with clients and providers to find successful housing placements.
A recent success story is Edward Bains, who is moving into stable housing with Weaver’s help. For Bains, who has experienced homelessness for two years, having a stable place to call home is a positive step for his health and wellbeing. He said Weaver’s dogged determination helped him stay positive.
“I feel relieved,” Bains said. “I feel settled. I feel good.”
For Weaver, making those connections is a part of his calling.
“It’s about being in a position where you can be of service to others in a lot of ways,” he said. “I give my all to people every single day. I’ve been a person who has given all my life.”