Things Change - Life Goes On

Monarch Caterpillars

The milkweed plants in my labyrinth are covered with dozens of Monarch caterpillars. They are eating the plants right down to the bare stems as part of a marvelous symbiotic relationship between the monarchs and the milkweed. While the caterpillars find secret places in the garden, hidden from the crows, to form their chrysalis and morph into butterflies, the milkweed pods are launching hundreds of seeds on white wispy wings to sprout new plants for the next generation of caterpillars. Things change and life goes on.

As you may know, Amikas was been operating on a teeny budget since opening in 2010. It’s amazing what we we able to accomplish without any significant funding, but at the end of last year, we had to make the painful decision to close Amikas House. 

We managed to assist those Amikas House residents who wanted our help, to find housing. Through a collaboration with the San Diego Housing Commission and 25 Cities Campaign, five of our families are now living in San Diego apartments with an 18-month subsidy that should give them enough time to get on their feet.

But our hopes to continue the Amikas Double-Up Program (AD-UP) have not materialized. We’ve learned that shared housing requires intensive case management to be sustainable and we simply didn’t have the funds for the staff required. Like the milkweed, we were down to the bare stems.

Last week the Amikas Board of Directors decided to discontinue all of our residential programs. But keeping in mind that we started Amikas to fill a need that has yet to be directly addressed by any other agency in the area – housing for homeless women and families, particularly veteran women  – we need to continue to shine a light on that gap. For the time being, we will continue to provide telephone assistance to callers by referring them to whatever programs are available. We will maintain our phone number, PO Box, and website, while our Board of Directors considers ways that we can best fulfill our mission to assist the homeless women and families in our community.

I have stepped down as Executive Director, and am in job search mode, hopefully finding work that serves the less fortunate and pays my bills. I have served for the past five years without a salary and that’s no longer an option. I also plan on putting more time into my writing, including a weekly article on San Diego Free Press and a book about what I’ve learned about the hidden homeless – the women we have served for the past five years.

So, while Amikas may look a bit bare at the moment, we haven’t gone away. We’ve planted seeds and nourished caterpillars and all will be back in one form or another one day soon.

Best wishes,
Jeeni Criscenzo

If you are set up as a recurring donor on PayPal for Amikas, you certainly have the option of discontinuing your monthly donation at any time. However, during our hiatus those recurring PayPal donations would be enough to keep Amikas afloat while we prepare to reappear as a better-funded milkweed. Your continued support would be very much appreciated, but if you need assistance in “shutting off” the PayPal payment, just send me an email at and I can do it from this end.