Socorro Crabbe is the house manager at Victoria’s Lighthouse in Anaheim, a sober living facility that houses women seeking recovery from addiction, a refuge during mental health crises and reprieve from the harsh realities of being unhoused.
Crabbe has walked the same path as the women she helps find comfort in sobriety, stability, and communal living.
“I was a nurse. I had my own home. My kids were living with me. I had my own car, but I couldn’t function once my drinking became problematic,” said Crabbe.
Crabbe’s time in sober living made a monumental impact, helping her turn her life around when she needed it the most. Now, she spends her days trying to provide that same opportunity for the women living at Victoria’s Lighthouse.
“There are 20 women in the house right now. It’s hard, but I try to keep up with everyone’s schedule. They need to be able to springboard from here to the real world,” Crabbe said. “I want them to be able to be proud of themselves, and I want them to remember Victoria’s Lighthouse as the place where they were able to get their lives back on track.”
Her story reflects many women she helps today; hard-working and diligent people held back by addiction and mental health struggles, like Kaylani Bolton, who, at only 18, had to be briefly hospitalized during a mental health crisis. Bolton was enrolled as a student at Cal Poly Pomona while also attempting to hold down retail work, a balance she found difficult to maintain and that eventually became too much to bear.
“While I was in the hospital, I got kicked out from my mom’s house,” Bolton said.
Hospital staff put Bolton in contact with an organization that assists young people experiencing mental health crises: Supporting Transitional Age Youth (STAY).
After Bolton was kicked out of her mother’s home, STAY helped her find a new place to live, “[STAY] found [Victoria’s Lighthouse] for me, and now I live in a room with six other girls.”
The adjustment to sober living arrangements has been rocky at times, but Bolton remains grateful for the safe and organized environment provided by the facility. She said that the sober living community is giving her the space she needs to make real progress.
“I’m focusing more on maintaining my mental health, and I’m also trying to find a career so I can transition into more permanent housing,” Bolton said.
Crabbe introduced Bolton to Beth Brown, the Executive Director of Build Futures, an Orange County nonprofit that gives shelter for unhoused youth aged 18 to 24. They also provide resources to help them become independent in the long run.
Brown in turn told Bolton about Hope Builders, another organization based out of Orange County providing educational opportunities to impoverished communities, helping them receive training to enter the workforce.
“Getting that degree is going to help raise her out of poverty, it is going to make a world of difference,” Brown said.
Bolton was able to receive a grant through Hope Builders that allowed her to continue pursuing her education in biotechnology, an opportunity she is eager to make the most of.
“Orientation is next week, and my classes start on October 14,” Bolton said. “I already have my nursing shoes, a pair of white crocs. They’re so cute!”
For Crabbe, being the house manager at Victoria’s Lighthouse is much more than just a job, it is a labor of love.
“I love this job. I have never loved my job before, even as a nurse,” Crabbe said. “I was good at it, but I didn’t love it. Not like this.”