LOS ANGELES, California, Nov. 3, 2021 — In the ongoing battle against homelessness the news is typically bleak, but a longtime nurse turned businesswoman’s approach to housing the homeless is sparking hope from some who say they’ve found more than just a cot and a meal under the roof of Holliday’s Helping Hands, Inc.
Enter Katina Holliday, and her flagship organization Holliday’s Helping Hands (HHH). An entrepreneur with leadership and organizational talents to rival many Fortune 500 CEOs, she partners with Los Angeles County and cities to provide interim housing services for what she calls her “clients.” Proving its model, HHH has helped more than 100 families and individuals find permanent housing in the past 2 1/2 years.
For those who have been chronically homeless, the transition from the streets to interim housing requires major adjustments. The transition period is not just about three meals a day and a roof. It’s about priming a paradigm shift from destructive assumptions and readying them to restore their sense of independence and dignity.
Holliday is at the frontlines when it comes to developing a holistic transitional framework for clients. She is adamant about creating an environment of stability, nurturing, respect and accountability. As a girl, she saw her grandmother never turn anyone away even when there was good reason. “She taught me it’s not about us versus them, we are all the same community,” says Holliday.
According to Angela Ada, who stayed at previous places before coming to the HHH site in Long Beach, “There is more staff, more activities, more like a community here. Her team here at Atlantic is good. As far as the operation, I like that there is a psychiatrist here and able to speak with us about problems we may be going through.”
Every HHH client is paired with an HHH case manager who helps create an individualized care plan, or “roadmap,” covering everything from creating a balanced budget, lifestyle skills, attire, interviewing, safety tips, and even how to be a good neighbor. “People appreciate clean yards and tidy curbs,” says Holliday. “We want them to succeed when they find permanent housing. Part of that is learning how to be considerate of their neighbors,” she adds.
An enormous difference is the feel of home when walking into the facility, from encouraging posters adorning the walls to the client bedrooms with colorful comforters and artwork with hopeful messages. The HHH staff fosters positive energy, knowing what’s offered is unique to how the homeless are typically treated.
HHH client David Carrillo appreciates the elevated level of cleanliness at where he stays. “The sink is shiny, toilet shiny. You guys have quality staff. I feel you have a higher standard.”
Carrillo, who has stayed at other facilities says the difference at HHH is “Credibility. When you guys say something, you make it happen. I feel more comfortable here, you guys are more professional,” he says.
Holliday is the first to credit her staff for the uplifting changes taking place. Residents don’t just get a roof over their heads; they receive non-judgmental support. “My team is a blessing; they continually inspire me with their compassion for the people we help.”
When asked about the nurse who founded HHH, Carrillo met Holliday once and remembers the interaction well. “She made me feel like a human being. She doesn’t act like she’s better than anyone. She renewed my faith in human kindness.”