Metro/Regional News - Program opens doors to new lives - sacbee.com
Dennis Lomack stood before a crowd of housing officials and politicians Saturday, speaking eloquently about communication, integrity and the keys to transforming one's life.Lomack
was the very image of success as he
braved the heat in shirt and tie, a cell phone clipped to his
confidently exchanged jokes with Sacramento County Supervisor Roger Dickinson.
It's hard to picture Lomack
seven years ago, when he
was homeless and unemployed.But thanks in part to a Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency housing assistance program, Lomack, 45, says he's
was one of nearly two dozen Sacramento County residents honored Saturday for graduating from a program called Family Self-Sufficiency.The program, available in Sacramento County since 1993, helps motivated individuals and families wean themselves off public assistance.
"We all have been granted a destiny for our lives," Lomack
told fellow graduates, who gathered for the ceremony at the College Greens Swim and Racquet Club
In an interview after the ceremony, Lomack
talked about how anyone can fall on hard times.The key, he
said, is what one does next.Lomack said he was working part time as a delivery driver for The Bee when his relationship with his girlfriend soured and she kicked him out.Lomack
couldn't get by on the part-time job, so he
went on assistance.
"I had to humble myself," he
Eventually, things started to turn around.He
learned about the Family Self-Sufficiency program from the welfare office and liked its up-by-the-bootstraps philosophy.He
took classes at Sacramento State, landed a job as a school monitor at Kennedy High school
-- where he
also coached boys varsity basketball -- and gradually worked his
way off assistance.
Since graduating from the program in 2005, things have continued looking up for Lomack
.He said he's a counselor at Kennedy and plans to earn a master's degree, with hopes of one day becoming a principal, maybe even a superintendent.
"In many ways, what happened to me was the best thing that could've happened to me," Lomack