Michelle Baynes

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Michelle Baynes

I started volunteering with homeless families over 15 years ago. I was a realtor and wanted to do something more with my life. I left real estate when offered a job with the children at the shelter. The families at the shelter would tell me about the homeless men and women on the street. They told me about how they needed help too. I asked my boss if I could do street outreach with the single homeless. I continued doing street outreach for most of the next 13 years. I met many people on the street, and watched many die on the street. These poems tell what I saw and experienced. Two years ago I left COTS (Committee on the Shelterless) and went back to real estate. Today I still help get people to detox, to drug and alcohol programs, look for rentals, and do job referral letters. I have also sold homes to three couples that I met when they were homeless. I am currently working with five more couples that also want to buy homes. Mike Johnson, who wrote the foreword, was homeless for over 15 years and is now the Director of Programs at the Mary Isaak Shelter in Petaluma. He is also happily married and a homeowner. One of my dreams was to have my poems published and to continue to help the homeless. I also said when I went back to real estate, I wanted to help people that had been homeless become homeowners. My life has come full circle. All my dreams are coming true.

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Homeless in Petaluma
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