Pregnant, homeless South Bay mother prepares for new chapter after 'very long journey'

A pregnant South Bay woman who is homeless is about to start a new chapter.

Amber Sullivan, 35, is one of 250 people who stay every night at the Boccardo Reception Center in San Jose.

"I'm due April 21 and it's a girl," said Sullivan.

Sullivan has slept in the homeless shelter for two years and says a good Samaritan brought her there after one week of sleeping on the streets of San Jose.

According to the latest statistics, Santa Clara County had 7,398 homeless living both on the streets and in shelters in 2017. That's up slightly from 7,202 homeless in 2007. One third of the current homeless population are women.

Sullivan wouldn't be able to stay at the shelter with a baby, and 10 weeks before her due date came an unexpected surprise that she qualified for a HomeFirst program called rapid rehousing.

"She got approved and we found her a one-bedroom apartment so she will be moving in within the next couple of days and we're all excited to be working with her because it's been a very long journey," said Hazel Valencia with HomeFirst. "She deserves this and so does the baby."
Valencia is Sullivan's case manager. She is not only assisting the expectant mother with temporary housing but also helping her return to school and find work.

"We want to help the clients be sustainable on their own," said Valencia.
Valencia and Andrea Urton, the CEO of HomeFirst, are also going even farther. They're setting Sullivan up with furniture and household essentials for her new apartment, while also collecting baby supplies including a new car seat, diapers and towels.

"This is a blessing whether you planned it or not," said Sullivan. "At the end of the day, it's pretty much how grateful are you for that chance."

Sullivan says she will miss the friends she's made but she is looking forward to some things people usually take for granted, such as worrying about paying her bills.
"I hope at the end of the day, everybody that has helped me feels like I have earned this...I have earned the help that they've given," said Sullivan. 
Organizers say, after one year of subsidized housing, the goal is to have Sullivan on her own living in the affordable housing unit.