Currently, Mz Shirliz is located in Antioch, CA. This 501(c)(3) non-profit organization brings a safe, sober environment. A wonderful 5 bedroom home that has 10 residents with various lengths of sobriety. If they are not working a steady job, they will be required to. Contra Costa County has a wealth of resources available in the community. If they don't come with an established relationship of these resources, Mz Shirliz sends them out right away to start building a network. They have weekly meetings and are required to attend 2-3 NA or AA meetings week.
A little history.........
* It all started at a house in Daly City (around 2009), a few rooms and a few residents. We remodeled a home that allowed us to get our feet on the ground, when they decided to sell, we had to spread our wings and learn to fly.
* From Daly City we moved to a very large house in San Jose, CA. The ideas of making ends meet and learning to be self sufficient were birthed and we started small moving jobs, that little did we know were going to grow into major opportunities.
* Then came "The Centre"- (2011) An opportunity that provided more than we could have ever imagined. The building, included a computer lab where residents could be tutored in computer programs and have the ability to attend workshops on how to create a resume. “Many people know how to do simple stuff like social network sites,” said a volunteer who set up the computer lab in the housing center. “But it’s a lot different when you have to fill out an application online.” The Center also provided vocational opportunities. A construction crew, a landscaping team and even a catering business. (check out our archives).
* We had to move "The Centre" when the building sold. We moved to a small house in Redwood City, knowing that big changes were coming. This didn't stop us, we continued to provide services and reached out to our new neighbors.
* The opportunity arose for us to grow again. We found a building on El Camino Real (still in Redwood City) that had a store front attached to it. We turned it into a little second hand store and called it "Sacks Thrift Avenue". With the help of generous donations we were able to keep the little store going and not to long after rented the building next door as well. Knowing that the city was growing and developers were going to eventually take over, our landlord let us stay as long as we could. Again we had multiple rooms and provided a variety of services.
* Which brings us to where we are today. We heard a calling to Contra Costa County where Mz Shiriliz has new life. With the new resources available in this county, the opportunities are limitless as long as we keep moving forward and keeping with the principles, values and standards that we have always had. We still help individuals with circumstances they may not be familiar with, including obtaining a copy of one’s birth certificate, the proper identification needed for employment or the appropriate attire for an interview.
Anyone can live a life of vibrancy, but only those that truly can appreciated it are those who have felt the most debilitating darkness. Marked by a past of heroin addiction, negligent parenting, terrorizing violence, prostitution and homelessness. Mz Shirliz residents know that without a helping hand given, none of this would be possible. That is why we continue to reach out to our community as they reached out to us.
If this stirs your heart and catches your interest, there are many ways that you can be involved. Click on the "Contact" page and you can donate or send us an email if you can support in any other way.
Mz Shirley said, “I know what the depths of hell feel like, “I can’t explain it, but I can feel it and taste it.” A former inmate, Shirley said her life was transformed when she was enrolled in the residential rehabilitation service Delancey Street in San Francisco. “I would have been dead, there’s no doubt in my mind,” Shirley said when she thought of her life without Delancey Street. “I would have killed someone or they would have killed me.”
When the program revived her health, mind and self-worth, Shirley was able to revive the strength inspired by her grandmother and realize her dynamism for assisting those in dire need. “That little piece had lived in me, so when I went to Delancey Street it was reformed,” she said. “My quest or my place was to help people, and when I left that’s what I wanted to do.”
Shirley, who served as the Director of the in-custody program Choices at the Maguire Correctional Facility for nearly 6 years, opened the doors to Mz. Shirliz Transitional Living Center in Redwood City in 2011 to provide hope to those who wish to revive their lives. “This woman, she moves people to places,”
Shirley, who received the Jefferson Award for her service to the community, began her work at Choices nearly 20 years ago, and since then has changed lives. She hopes to continue her unprecedented track record with Mz Shirliz Transitional Living. “I hope to fill in the gaps of the criminal justice system,” “And there’s a lot of gaps. A lot of these guys, if they don’t find a safe place they’re likely to fall prey.”