SoCal single mother of 7 goes from being homeless to being carpenter apprentice after turning life around

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As Southern California works to find solutions for the nearly 60,000 people living without permanent shelter, the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters offers a possible bridge out of homelessness with a program called the Brother's Keeper.

For more than three years, Alicia Jimenez, 49, found herself living on the streets with her daughters after losing her home to what she calls fraud.

"In 2013, a real estate man said he would modify my payment, but he stole my house," an emotional Jimenez said.

Depressed and desperate, Jimenez slept in parks, benches and even in the back of local restaurants, where she would sleep in a small donated trailer with her daughters.

Things took a positive turn when one of her daughters helped enroll her at a community college to learn English. This is when she discovered the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters and inquired about the Brother's Keeper program.

She asked for an opportunity and the local carpenter's program gave it to her.

For about a year and a half, Jimenez worked hard in the apprentice program, dedicating herself fully to learning the trade and was determined to get back on her feet.

Today, she works as a Carpenter's Apprentice on a special underground project in downtown Los Angeles.

"Her resilience, strength and can-do attitude is what helped her succeed in this program," said Dan Langford, the executive secretary treasurer of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters.

Jimenez, who is about to celebrate a big birthday, says she owes it all to God, her family and all of the wonderful mentors who believed in her at the carpenter's union, including teachers who encouraged her not to give up.

"I love it, I love my job," Jimenez said.
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