A year ago both were living on the streets, maintaining a lifestyle dictated by when and how they would score the next high. When Annette found out she was pregnant, the couple vowed to create a healthy, stable life together for their child. The desire to learn sustainable skills for a strong family brought them to HPP where Annette and Kelano became part of the New Beginnings program, which focuses on mothers who have self-reported substance abuse issues and are currently pregnant.
Case Manager Stephanie Schroeder quickly recognized the couple’s dedication and worked with them collaboratively to determine next steps. Maintaining sobriety, securing stable housing, and finding pregnancy and parenting support groups were Annette and Kelano’s top three goals. “I have been pregnant before and I have gotten clean before, but this time is different,” explains Annette. “I have the support of my Kelano and I have help from HPP. I want this baby with us.” With Stephanie’s guidance, Kelano and Annette have been linked to community services and resources that create a strong support system while they maintain recovery.
Kelano Jr. was born just after the New Year, healthy and weighing close to ten pounds. His parents were thrilled with his arrival and are now even more dedicated to a positive future for their family. Kelano is one of few fathers to graduate from HPP’s Prenatal Class and will continue his education alongside Annette this spring in HPP’s Knowing Your Baby group and Positive Parenting class. “When I came to HPP, it was the first time people didn’t look at me like a street person. Here, I am just a person,” says Annette.
The baby is just one of the new things in Annette and Kelano’s life. The couple moved into the Sunnydale Housing Projects two weeks before Kelano Jr’s arrival, after months of diligently working with city and housing agencies. “During a press conference about the housing crisis in San Francisco, I stood up and told my story. I got a house [for my family] because of my own advocacy,” says Annette, explaining she and Kelano had been determined to have a permanent home before she gave birth. “This is my first time having my own house! When they told me I got it, I cried tears of joy,” says Annette, with tears in her eyes once again.
The couple’s journey is just beginning as they focus on a healthy life with the son who is already loved so much. “Annette and Kelano have taught me a lot about what it means for our clients to make positive and meaningful change in their lives. They welcomed change and have beautiful, healthy outcomes to show for it,” says Stephanie, when reflecting on the success of her clients. HPP wishes the new family the best in their new life and knows Annette and Kelano can do anything they put their minds to.