TV host and influencer Erika De La Cruz shares how the California fires have affected her homeless mom and what she is doing to help her.

By Lena Hansen
November 01, 2019 05:09 PM

TV host and influencer Erika De La Cruz shared a tearful video on her Insta Stories this week. The Mexican American inspirational speaker, 28, said that the California fires had affected her homeless mom, burning through a creek where she was living with a homeless community. Thankfully her mom was not hurt, but the fire burned through some of her personal property, including a journal with years worth of writings detailing her mom's inspiring story. "I've had a really long day and a hard one. I've been crying because fires have affected one of my family members and it's my mom," De La Cruz revealed in the video. "Whole homes have been burned down and something happened with my mom," she said in another post. "She is part of the homeless community voluntarily and it's weird for me to talk and share about so I have kind of kept it off the radar, but this week the fires in Northern California went through a creek where she was living with this community. She calls and tells me that everything is gone and she is devastated."

De La Cruz says her mother lost objects of emotional value like a stuffed animal that belonged to Erika as a child and journals containing her memories. "What really got her were these writings that for 4 years she was keeping track of her experiences, poetry, songs, music, recollections of what she was going through and they are totally gone," De La Cruz said. The TV host added that she gave her mom hope, telling her she would help her recreate her work. "She is on a bus right now to Los Angeles to recreate four years worth of intellectual property. It's motivating," she said. "I broke down and that's why I'm here this morning. I have to not be in shambles, I want to be strong when she gets here."

Courtesy of Erika De La Cruz

For De La Cruz, her mom being affected by the fires brought back many painful memories from their past as a family. "Inside I was angry and upset that this could happen to a person twice in a lifetime, to lose everything," she admitted. "I had a full-on panic attack last night. I'm breaking down because this is all happening again and it feels like I'm losing everything. My heart was breaking."

Courtesy of Erika De La Cruz

The author of the self-help book Passionistas and founder of the annual entertainment conference Passion to Paycheck opened up to People CHICA about how she ended up being homeless after her parents lost their restaurant and their home in the economic crash of 2009. "My family lost everything. I was a freshman in college that year," she recalled. "It's like out of a movie where all of a sudden cell phones don't work and we have 11 hours to pack up everything that was in the house that I grew up in. When I got home from college for the summer, the home was chained, barred; we got a notice because the home was being foreclosed. That's where this weird part of my life started. I put everything into a car and started staying at friends' houses. I would get that morning's change of clothes from my '93 Honda Accord. Homelessness is a very delicate subject."

She was able to get back on her feet financially, go back to school and rebuild her life, thanks to help from loved ones and scholarships. De La Cruz also shared how this financial crisis affected her mom. After her parents got a divorce, she said her mom decided to stay living in the homeless community and became an advocate for them, a decision De La Cruz says she admires. She also feels proud of her mom for handling this new loss with a positive attitude. "A woman who raised me has lost everything and is on her way to create four years worth of work and worth of ideas," she concluded in the recent Instagram post. "Life is going to happen, it's going to kick you on your ass, it's going to take everything from you. It's how you react to it. You get to decide how your life goes, you get to decide what you create newly."

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