LOS ANGELES – Most of Yosselin Bertacco’s belongings can fit in her suitcase, which has been the case for the last three months she has been at the Union Rescue Mission. It is not the ideal situation, but she has what she needs.
“Traveling with essentials is the best way until I get accommodated and have my own home. Then I can just have what I want,” said Bertacco.
Bertacco takes some time to eat left over street tacos she got earlier in day. The South American born immigrant who came to the U.S. as a little girl says 3 years ago she left Stockton to get away from her abusive husband.
After an injury left her jobless, Bertacco’s money ran out forcing her into homelessness, but not hopelessness.
“I think it was meant to be that God sent me over here and I got to meet some wonderful women over here. Everybody has their story and so do I,” said Bertacco.
She along with some of the other women begin to get prepared for evening. Every night Union Rescue Mission makes space on their floors for 120 women sleeping on cots and air mattresses.
While Yosselin says she is thankful for shelter, she is ready for what is soon to come.
“Once they move in here they’ll be able to not only stay in here overnight but rest in their bunk at anytime,” said Andy Bales Union Rescue Mission’s CEO.
Three years of planning and nearly $2 million later, Bales said this is one of his proudest achievements in recent years.
“Soon some ladies are going to call this home who have no home and call it a safe space for people who currently have no safe space. Even if one woman is out on the streets tonight trying to dress up like a man and avoid assaults it’s far too many,” said Bales.
The new sprung shelter will be more than a comfortable place to sleep at night, with dedicated case managers working in the structure itself, women like Yosselin who will have access to services to help get their lives back on track.
“It’s a beautiful thing that they’re doing that they are putting in not only their time but their work and their heart on it,” said Bertacco.
Only a few more nights left on the floor. Only a few more nights until her future.