Formerly homeless people share their stories in Pasadena

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- Stories from the Frontline is a group that gives audiences just that, it helps dispel the myth "once homeless, always homeless."

"The night that I turned 40, I spent it in the parking lot of an Albertson's," said Cynthia Kirby.

Kirby is now a 4.0 student at Pasadena City College but lived on the streets of Pasadena for years.

"I didn't want to admit that I was in the situation I was in and go and ask for help... I didn't know that I could have gone in there and gotten into a shelter and there would've been food and other resources," she said.

She made it out of homelessness with the help of organizations like Union Station Homeless Services. Her friend, Shawn Morrissey, is a director of advocacy and community engagement for that group.

He, too, at one point lived on the streets, hopeless and alone.

"Healing begins with being nurtured and loved and offered positive regard. And that's all of what I received when I came off the street and into the shelter. And that was what began my own healing and journey forward," Morrissey said.

These Stories from the Frontline are designed to show people the side of homelessness not often in the spotlight.

Co-founder Marilyn Wells said many people think of the homeless person as only the addict, or a person with a mental health disorder, when in reality those people make up less than a third of the population.

"The majority of people that are suffering from homelessness might live in their cars, find places to hide, find places to sleep and go to work and find a way to shower so you wouldn't notice them," Wells said.

Each Stories from the Frontline presentation has speakers from formerly homeless people from that specific city.

The next event is expected to be in Hollywood on July 18.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.