Resident Spotlight: Brent Paradise
Brent Paradise: living life to the fullest, thanks to TNDC.
Mr. Paradise is a resident at the Civic Center Residence, and even though he has only lived there for a little over a year, he credits TNDC and the staff at CCR with greatly improving his quality of life.
Brent Paradise moved to San Francisco in 1974. He came to visit for a two-week vacation from South Dakota and never returned. In a matter of days, he found an apartment on Washington Street and a job as a concierge at the Fairmont Hotel.
Brent has worked in the travel industry most of his life, first at the Fairmont and then the Hyatt, then for several years as a booking agent for United Airlines. When United Airlines filed for bankruptcy, Mr. Paradise lost his pension. Close to retirement age, it was hard for Brent to find work, but he found an opportunity to work as a travel agent in Sausalito. His generous boss gave him the opportunity to work his way up and shared the perks of the job, including some free trips.
“There are many of us who are so very grateful. You save people’s lives. You really do. I was homeless for awhile and this place is a god-send. Thank you.” – Brent Paradise
For 31 years, Mr. Paradise lived in the same apartment building. His neighbors became his friends, sharing holidays and potlucks and looking after each other’s pets and children. When the owners passed away, their children sold the building, and the new owner shut the building down for five years.
Finding a new apartment he could afford was difficult. Prices had gone up drastically, and as an aging worker in a rapidly changing job market, Mr. Paradise found himself under-employed. After 31 years, Mr. Paradise could no longer afford to live in San Francisco.
Brent found a single room for $850 a month in an SRO Hotel on Howard Street. He says the building had 28 rooms and only one bathroom. Dirt and garbage lined the hallways. The bathroom was so filthy, he would beg friends to let him shower at their place. When Mr. Paradise fell ill and could not work, he could not pay his rent at the SRO hotel. Fortunately, with the help of his patient advocate, Mr. Paradise found out about a vacancy at TNDC’s Civic Center Residence (CCR).
Brent says that CCR is a 101% improvement. “I am so grateful to be here. The staff does so much to keep this place clean.” Mr. Paradise also credits the staff at CCR for making the building such a welcoming place. “Erin is so kind. She does her job with so much empathy and compassion. And Ms. Stewart has such patience. This is a great place to live.” When asked if there was one thing he would like TNDC staff, supporters, volunteers, and donors to know, he said: “There are many of us who are so very grateful. You save people’s lives. You really do. I was homeless for awhile and this place is a god send. Thank you.”