By Kelly Ryan
WOODLAND (CBS13) — Dan Walker was a lead chef in some of the top restaurants around the country for more than 27 years, but he fell on hard times.
“I was actually sleeping in a tent,” he said.
Now, thanks in part to a Yolo County program and the owners of a cafe, he’s getting a second chance.
He was homeless for more almost a year when he ran into Marco and Jennifer Fuoco, the owners of Guinevere’s Café and Bistro in Downtown Woodland.
It was around that same time Dan was in a courtroom after a nonviolent criminal offense and unable to pay roughly $1,400 in fines. That’s when the judge suggested a new program—the Yolo County D.A.’s Homeless Restorative Justice Program.
“We’re trying to do is take the homeless population out of the court system and focus on social services to try to change their condition,” said Chris Bulkeley with the district attorney’s office.
That includes working with a social worker, getting access to mental health services, drug rehabilitation and interacting with a group of community members, getting a home, and a job.
As the third participant in the program, Walker’s grateful he was accepted and grateful to now be employed full time. Guinevere’s worked with the DA’s office as Dan got into the program.
“Everything in this program is not a punishment for my crime, but it’s to help me better myself, and that’s what I’m amazed at,” he said.