Help Michaela stay sheltered

Michaela is facing some very serious health problems and she needs basic, concrete, simple tangible help from the community – wherever you may be – at this time. In the immediate term, she needs money to stay sheltered. Michaela is an advocate for the homeless community and is currently relying on a motel for shelter due to unexpected health complications.

1. Michaela’s IMMEDIATE Financial Needs

Michaela needs the following: money for lodging (motel is $100 a night, a gift card for an AirBnB would be more affordable at $1600 or so a month).

2. Read more about Michaela's story

Three years ago Michaela, a college educated paralegal who graduated with honors, moved from Silicon Valley, CA to Fresno, CA for the cheaper cost of housing and to earn a Social Work degree at Fresno State. Michaela’s plans were derailed by a medication interaction that landed her in the hospital with untreated depression according to the hospital psychiatrist, therapists, nurses, and medical team.

Michaela could not work and she spent thru her savings. Michaela is 58 yrs old now and the majority of her family has died. She doesn’t have a traditional support network anymore. Michaela wended through Fresno, CA’s transitional shelters for women. They were dangerous and abusive. While the majority of women were homeless due to mental illness, the staffs were not trained in these brain malfunctions or how to make a safe, stable environment. Many women were rendered homeless again, including Michaela, who has been waiting for 2.5 years for a gov studio apt.

Michaela has been sleeping in her Civic for 2 years in residential neighborhoods in north Fresno.It is like a  perpetual backpacking trip. She is highly organized. It is also very tiring. She is 5’8”and doesn’t have enough space to sleep. Michaela has had epilepsy since the age of 6, treated at Stanford. Her last seizure was at the age of 13. Michaela’s seizures returned after 45 years and she had three seizures in one week. Her first was at the drive thru ATM at 5:00 am as she was getting money for coffee. She awoke to four Fresno Police officers gently calling her name. She was taken to the hospital for treatement.

Michaela has lost the right to drive for six months, until her seizures are under control. It took her two years in the 70’s to be approved for a driver’s license, between Stanford’s drs, testing, reports, and a panel of DMV drs in Sacramento.
Michaela has NEVER screwed up. She has never gotten a speeding ticket or other violation.

Michaela is not a substance user and she does not have a criminal history. She has used her paralegal skills in conservatorships and law offices to get a homeless schizophrenic veteran off the streets of north Fresno, CA and into VA housing, his disability benefits, and other services. He is now stable! She was thanked by Fresno Police Officers for intervening to help him. It was too complex a task for him to do alone with a malfunctioning brain. He was on the streets for four years, with no help. He couldn’t advocate for himself.

Michaela attends to the needs of other homeless people, many with mental illness and from abusive families. They want to participate in society, want to go to college, want to work, want to volunteer, and they have no help from the community to make that happen. They are cast out.

3. Michaela’s “Nice to Have Needs”

Electric tea kettle, metal shelves from Lowes or Walmart for her storage locker, organizing boxes, and help with food. Extras: coffee, Earl Grey Tea, chai tea, and carnation soap. A bright red tea pot, roundish shaped. A sheep woolskin thing to lay on.Think soft. A twin size or queen inflatable mattress that is comfy when invited to stay somewhere.

4. Michaela’s Longer Term Needs

Help getting a high roof top van – Dodge Ram Promaster, Ford Transit Connect, or Mercedes Benz Sprinter, and making it into a small apartment on wheels to park in Fresno, CA and to go to Fresno State to be able to study. Van build needs: spray foam insulation, bunk beds, small kitchen with burners and oven (Dometic), bathroom with a shower and a composting toilet, no windows on driver’s side (to be stealth), windows on passenger side, L couch area behind driver’s side, Laguun table mount (used in sailing and van builds) for computer work and eating, diesel heater (dry heat without condensation), Max Air fan in roof, Dometic sky light in roof, blackout curtains, comfy mattresses. Just the basics. Nothing fancy.

5. Conclusion

Thank you, friends. Life goes on. Next up: Neurologist and MRI (brain) testing to see what’s up? Hospital ER dr put me on 500 mg Keppra twice a day, to go with my Phenobarbital twice a day, which I’ve been on since age 6. It is working for now.


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Amber Crowell 
Fresno, CA
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