Tameka came to California for a better life for her and her son. After losing her brother to gun violence, she struggled with deep depression and needed to make a change for herself and her child. Driving across the country, sleeping in motels, she arrived with hopes for a quieter, healthier environment to raise her son.

However, offers of housing from friends never materialized, and she struggled to find her footing and experienced homelessness. After being arrested for trying to get food for her son, she was incarcerated, and her son was taken into foster care. Tameka was connected to the LA County Office of Diversion and Reentry’s Supportive Housing Program when she was released, after a brief stay in transitional housing. The ODR housing program launched in 2016 with the goal of improving housing stability and reducing justice system involvement among individuals enrolled into the program and exiting jail and prison systems.

The ODR program is one of the subprograms in the LA County Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool, and Brilliant Corners facilitates supportive housing placements for this program by providing housing location services in either scattered-site units, project-based sites, or Enriched Residential Care facilities, depending on the specific supports needed by the client, and provides tenancy support services to help clients thrive in their housing placements.

Tameka now lives in a one-bedroom unit in an apartment complex in Inglewood, with purple walls – her favorite color – and a new stove that she worked with her Brilliant Corners Housing Coordinator, Lorena Magallanes, to get, so that she can make all her favorite meals. The transition into housing after incarceration wasn’t easy for Tameka – she was unnerved by the quiet and wasn’t able to sleep in her bed for the first few months, preferring to sleep on the couch by the front door in case anything happened. Over time, she has come to love the quiet and peaceful apartment complex, and says hello to her neighbors when she sees them in passing.

Tameka is now back in school, pursuing her dream of working in the entertainment industry as a director, and recently made the Honor Society at the LA Film School. She also started her own podcast, at the encouragement of one of her podcasting heroes, who helped her get her start and designed her logo. She says her son, now 20 years old, is happy and healthy, and just stayed with her for a week.

Tameka credits her success to her support network, including her Brilliant Corners Housing Coordinator, Lorena, and her case manager. She says having that wraparound support reminds her that someone is always in her corner. She wants people who are going through hard times to know that there is always help out there, and that you don’t have to struggle alone. She now has people she can call at any second, and that support makes anything possible.

Tameka is getting ready to shoot her first short film, starring her podcast hero. You can find Tameka’s podcast online at https://cocktailsandstilettos.com/.