Bringing Them All Back Home

louis angel

Originally from Reedley, California, Louis Angel moved to Fresno with his family in the early 90’s at the age of nine. As he grew older, he became aware of his parents’ increasing drug abuse, and any sense of a stable home environment began to collapse. During high school, he moved frequently and often lived with relatives and friends, never staying in any one place for very long. For a while, Louis fell into the drug trap and lost custody of his three daughters.

Motivated to piece his life back together and bring his children home, Louis turned to Child Protective Services (CPS) for help. Through his social worker, he learned about Housing Choice Vouchers and the Fresno Housing Authority, which in 2007 began to provide assistance to secure his living situation. In addition to receiving financial assistance for his apartment, Louis became part of the Housing Authority’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program which afforded Louis numerous opportunities to grow and learn about how to save money, how to establish a successful credit record, and how to become more financially independent.

A year later, when approached by the Housing Authority about the possibility of becoming a homeowner, Louis set in motion a plan to reach that goal. He acquired his GED and completed training to become an Emergency Medical Technician. Though his career path changed course, the Housing Authority offered to pay for Louis’ education to become a drug and alcohol abuse counselor. His experiences with FSS helped him see home ownership as a realistic goal.

As a result of his hard work, Louis was named the 2010 Fresno Housing Authority Participant of the Year – an award that reflects his efforts and his successes.

Louis’ days are busy. He continues his studies at Fresno City College; takes his daughters – Jasmine, Casira, and Hannah – to school; works his day job; and interns ten hours per week at a drug and alcohol facility. He’s training with CPS to become certified to work with social workers, and hopes for a full-time position after he completes his program. Soon, Louis will be the first person in his family to graduate from college, and the first to own a home.

“I’m just really thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to better myself and my life, not only for me but for my kids. I’m just excited that home ownership is right around the corner. I’m really excited,” explained Louis.