Shawn Finds Peace of Mind at Harbor Care


Meet Shawn

Shawn grew up in Bellingham, Washington, but he was born in Spokane. Shawn came from a normal upbringing. He has two half-siblings, but his closest friend and relative was his uncle who was the same age as him. Every summer during his childhood, he’d go and stay at his grandmother’s house in Spokane, which led to many bonding experiences with his uncle. With a chuckle and a look of gratitude, Shawn said, “We’re kind of like, in a way, brothers.” After graduating high school, he won a car in a charity bingo game. Seeing that he seemed to be in fortune’s favor, he set his eyes on catching more lighting in a bottle by moving to Los Angeles to pursue a singing career. In 1984 he packed up that new car and moved to California.

Shawn’s Journey

Shawn was never able to catch the lighting, but he found some success working in factories and as a copy repairman. For a short time, he even worked as a fisherman in Alaska. He was also able to find work as a film extra working on movies like Volcano and Jingle All the Way. However, a nervous breakdown several years back caused Shawn to lose his ability to work and he found himself living in his vehicle in Huntington Beach. This was a lonely and isolating time for Shawn. The stigmas associated with homelessness were thrust upon him. He felt like a social pariah. The rejection took an emotional toll on him. He said, “The toughest part of being homeless is that you keep getting kicked when you’re down.”

Throughout the last few years, he’s been dealing with physical and mental illness. Before he found himself on the streets, he was only a few thousand dollars away from paying off his house before his health took that hit. He lost everything. Because of his health struggles, he was in and out of the Huntington Hospital emergency room. At times, he had to be placed in the psych ward on suicide watch. He was responding well to treatment and was connected to Harbor Care to complete his recovery.

How Harbor Helped Shawn

Harbor Care gave Shawn the two things he desired more than anything: security and community. His caseworker from Huntington Hospital asked Shawn to tell them what he thought of Harbor, and he told them that “it turned out that this [Harbor Care Center] is a good spot. And I’d recommend sending others like me.” Both his physical and mental health improved during his stay. He said the life skills and meditation classes that Harbor offers relieved his stress. The Care Unit staff helped him get organized and adapt to his medications, and he now feels physically recuperated. The case managers helped him get his benefits and are currently connecting Shawn to housing. “There’s someone in your corner rooting for you and helping you out,” said Shawn with a grateful smile. His advice to people on the fence about coming to Harbor Care is to “Definitely come. It’s clean and safe. And everybody is nice.”

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