NoHo Villas Resident Has a New Purpose in Life
“I am an advocate and a partner in the fight to end homelessness”
Zondre is beaming as she says, “Living at NoHo Senior Villas is a lifelong dream for me.” But she didn’t always have such a huge smile. Zondre was born in South Los Angeles. She ran away from home in 1973 at the age of 14, spending the next three decades in and out of jail and on the streets. When she was released for the final time at the age of 53, something clicked for Zondre. “I started thinking, is all that I’ve done in my life worth something? Do I always want to be the problem or do I want to be the solution?,” says Zondre. She spent time in a temporary shelter, where she received support to change her way of life. “The support groups made me stronger,” she says. She soon began volunteering to help other youth and adults in similar situations.
After working hard to stabilize her life, Zondre received a voucher for her own apartment at CBH’s NoHo Senior Villas. “Once I got here, I lay on the floor in my new apartment and I began to weep,” says Zondre. “I realized that I am finally home. Since I’ve lived here I’ve had nothing but peace.”
Zondre’s life today is unrecognizable from her early years. In July she travelled to Washington DC to share her story and speak with lawmakers about homelessness. She sits on several nonprofit boards, mentors youth, and organizes regular street cleanups in her neighborhood in North Hollywood.
“There’s not enough housing,” Zondre says. “People don’t want to be on the street. They adjust to being homeless because there’s nowhere else to go. But once they find out that there’s a possibility for housing that’s affordable, they get themselves together. It gives them hope. I hope that my story will touch people’s hearts to create more affordable homes. Living at NoHo has changed my whole perception of living. But we need more like this building.”