Molly’s Story

Molly, who was originally born in Samoa and moved to the United States at the age of 10, is today an inspiring mother, grandmother, homeowner, and the ultimate success story of what is possible in overcoming homelessness.

Molly first found herself without stable housing after returning to California from Hawaii in search of a better life. With five children and without a stable place to live, Molly spent more than a year seeking shelter and bouncing around between the houses of friends or family throughout the Bay Area. Trying to stay strong for her children but living with housing instability for prolonged time, Molly began to fall into depression. Fortunately, Molly was on a housing list through the county, and one day unexpectedly received notification there was a place waiting for her at Island Bay Homes, Community Housing Partnership’s family-focused Treasure Island property. Things then started to look up.

The simple-but-powerful combination of housing with support services gave Molly’s family a safe place to get back on their feet. “When we finally came to Community Housing Partnership I was happy, my kids were happy, we finally had a place to call our own,” Molly shares of her experience moving in. Molly’s family moved into a four-bedroom house on the island, and immediately immersed themselves into the community – attending welcome dinners, Halloween celebrations for her kids, and signing her children up for after-school programs. “During my time with Community Housing Partnership I became family with people in the buildings around me,” Molly explains. She even took in two other children in need of support while living on the island, eventually adopting them both as her own.

Molly and her children also got to know the Resident Services staff at Island Bay Homes as they settled into their new life and began to build a stronger foundation. “Anything you need, they are always there and you can call on them,” Molly shares. “There’s a sense of security knowing my family is there.”

To support her family, Molly works three jobs as necessary, and has always taught her children to live by the same financial responsibility that she practices every day. She grew up as a family on welfare, and knew that she wanted a better life for her children. It is with this, and with encouragement and the stability she was able to achieve while at Island Bay Homes, that Molly was able to buy her very own home in Sacramento with her daughter at the end of 2017. “Now it feels like we really did it,” Molly shares.

Molly’s two youngest, both in their late teens at the time, were able to continue to go to school and stay in the Island Bay Homes community after Molly moved out – just relocated to a smaller two-bedroom property on the island.

Molly couldn’t be any more proud of how far she and her family have come. “My kids have graduated high school with honors; my kids are now in college, pursuing careers, and starting their own families; I am grandmother of two and another on the way; I have a home; I have a life. I may not be rich, but I have a very rich life.” she shares with pride as she reflects on her transformation from homelessness to homeowner.

In the moments when making progress in addressing homelessness feels hopeless, stories like Molly’s remind us that it is possible to make progress, one life at a time. Together — with your support — we can change the lives of more families, like Molly’s, who have experienced homelessness.


You too can be part of the neighborhoods and city we love through volunteering, donating, or spreading the word about the issues surrounding homelessness in San Francisco. Join a community that’s changing lives and building a brighter future for our neighbors in need, and make a gift of support today: