Woman finds new hope after living at homeless center
Amelia ‘Molly’ Avelar was living on the streets after suffering a traumatic brain injury
–The gold bracelet on her wrist says “blessed.” It was given to her by a 40 Prado staff member. When someone asks 58-year-old Amelia “Molly” Avelar how she is doing, she answers “blessed beyond measure.” This is truly how she feels about where her life is now and her positive experiences at the 40 Prado Homeless Services Center.
It wasn’t always rosy. Avelar had suffered a traumatic brain injury that caused her to lose her memory – the doctors told her she had amnesia. She was lost and lonely using drugs and living on the streets. “We all have mental issues out on the street, but then I found 40 Prado,” she said.
Avelar describes herself as a very giving and loving person. She enjoyed helping out around the shelter serving meals, doing laundry, and cleaning the facility. She found herself beginning to thrive. “Prado changed my life,” Avelar said. “It’s a great place for a hand up, not a hand out.” In July 2020, she remembered the names of her six children. It was then that she knew things were on their way to getting better.
Avelar got a job outside of the facility and was promoted to supervisor only a month and a half later. She was so proud of herself. She said, “I forgot what a good employee I could be.” Avelar works full-time and participates in her employer’s retirement program. Then she got the phone call that would change her life forever. She had been chosen for a pilot living program in northern San Luis Obispo County where she would finally have her own place.
Her final words before leaving the homeless services center was, “Thank you 40 Prado. It’s a great place with great people who only want to help.” Staff members wish her well on her new journey. Indeed, she is blessed.