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Evangela Lee Success Story

Defining success is subjective, but it begins when you allow others to help you.  It takes courage, trust, and an open heart to receive the help.


Disclaimer: Casa Maria Safe Haven Program is a BOSS program for disabled homeless adults. Participants are referred by Alameda County Behavioral Health (ACBH)

An African-American woman wearing an orange scarf over her braids standing at a dinner table

Evangela Lee is a woman, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, and a truly inspiring person with many gifted talents.  Born and raised in Oakland, Evangela (from an early age) was always known as someone who was going to make a difference in the world.  Her upbeat spirit shines brightly, but there was a moment in her life’s journey when that light was dimmed when she had almost lost her way.  But you can’t break her soul (I can hear the award-winning song by Beyonce) or even crush her spirit because she has a tenacity that has helped her overcome the constant bombardment of injustices aimed directly at her. 


Ms. Lee found herself entangled in a legal web cycle with public safety officials and the justice system that led to a downward spiral in her mental health.  She was in fight or flight mode, constantly embattling all these fronts. She ultimately had to ask for help because everything began to unravel, including her mental health, due to the pressures of trying to right a wrong (or an injustice) through constant court appearances that ultimately cost her to loss of housing where she began living in her car and in/out motels; using all her money that she would earn by doing all kinds of jobs; sometimes even traveling from Oakland to Fresno to make ends meet. 

A off white condo with green windows

She has grown children and didn’t want

to burden them with her living with them,

so she went to the County’s CES program

to see how they could help her.  Now

being diagnosed with PTSD, Evangela was exhausted and needed to be somewhere safe and off the streets to direct her

energy to get back onto her life

journey that was initially planned for her. 

She never considered herself homeless but houseless. She needed affordable and sustainable housing where she could continue to thrive, be helpful, and be someone who helped make her community and the world a better place.

Once she was in the program, Evangela accepted help from staff members (Omaka Johnson, Quinlan Mosely, Michael Lewis, Alfred Dixon, Daniel Rice, Roberta Montoya, Angelina Roman, and Amir Jalil) and the many resources provided to her.  But she did not depend on them solely, they worked in collaboration to meeting her needs. She would also do some of the heavy lifting by contacting outside resources to help her. 

Evangela is always wanting to give back and to contribute in positive ways.  In her younger years, she did a lot of volunteering and being part of programs, community service, and events; she even volunteered at a BOSS program in the 1990s at one of the men’s shelters. She feels her life has come full circle with BOSS.  She’s not done yet.  She is also requesting to do volunteer work with some of our programs.

A picture of a body of water - lake with buildings in the background

She’s in a much better place and space than when she entered the program last year. She has a beautiful apartment near Lake Merritt (Oakland), and her adult children, grandchildren, and friends in Oakland love her and care a lot for her and her well-being.

She demonstrates her energy and thirst for life in everything she does to help bring out the best in others.

BOSS thanks Ms. Lee for sharing her story and wishes her nothing but happiness and the best life has to offer her.


Story contributor (BOSS Development staff)  January 2024   


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