HCD programs have a significant impact on communities. The general practice is to quantify this effect, in numbers, dollars, and units. Perhaps a more compelling way to explore HCD’s successes is through the voices of the individuals and families who have lived them.
From farmworkers to seniors to single moms, these residents of the Golden State tell their stories about how their lives have been transformed, thanks to HCD and its partners.
HCD’s programs change lives. Meet Nicolette, whose home was made possible through funding from our Multifamily Housing Program and with Mercy Housing California.
Nicolette says she moved a lot as a child and knows first-hand the impact moving around can have on kids. With concern in her eyes she says her son, at the age of six, has lived in seven different places. When a college classmate of Nicolette directed her toward Mercy Housing for help, she was surprised to learn that she and her children would be getting a permanent home and so much more.
“They really are creating a community here. It’s not just an apartment complex. It’s not just somewhere we rent from. they really want to give people that feeling of belonging and community and acceptance, and, you know, it’s really a beautiful thing…especially when you haven’t always had that.”
Nicole and her two children have lived in their home for four and a half years now and is happy to report her children are thriving.
Lucia is a single mom who had no choice but raise her three children in a single room after fleeing domestic violence. That was until she and her kids moved into an apartment made possible through funding from our Multifamily Housing and Serna programs and @Mercy Housing California.
Lucia says she loves everything about her home and community and is especially grateful for what it has done for her kids.
During COVID-19, Lucia lost her job and contracted the virus, but says her home was a safe haven and the staff at Mercy Housing were angels, providing food and supplies to her door and regularly checking in. “They were there for me in ways I didn’t know were possible. I just want to say, ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart.”
Crystal, her twin sister, and her mother and father live at Buena Vista, one of HCD’s seasonal migrant farmworker housing centers. After moving through a series of crowded motel rooms for most of her early life, Crystal still remembers the excitement of waking up in her own home at Buena Vista back in 2004.
“The first thing my sister and I did when we woke up was we went running to the front window. We looked out and we saw kids playing outside. We got really excited.”
HCD provides grants to local government agencies to operate Buena Vista and 23 other migrant farmworker centers across California. These grants help to keep rents low, so that families like Crystal’s can focus on the future. And, due in part to their safe, comfortable and affordable home at Buena Vista Migrant Center, their future is looking bright.
Carla, her husband and four children have been living and thriving in a Mutual Housing affordable community in Sacramento since 2008.
Carla’s children have a strong sense of belonging in their tightly-knit community.
“They are so involved in our community. When they have friends over, they are so proud. The grounds were recently remodeled so my kids show them the new park and the landscaping. They’re just really excited about the things that are going on here.”
HCD’s funding for Mutual Housing helped build this affordable community, but didn’t stop there. Also included, were the supportive services that help build individuals.
“We have a computer lab and afterschool tutoring. In the summer they have girl scouts and a club, so girls are more in tune with loving themselves and having self-confidence and awareness.”
Carla understands what her family needs to be whole. And HCD is happy to help.
Visitors from all over the world enjoy the attractions and carefree beauty of Lake Tahoe. But for thousands of year-round low-income residents who live and work in Lake Tahoe and other tourist destinations, affordability is a day-to-day worry.
That’s exactly why HCD helped create King’s Beach Housing, an affordable workforce housing option for families like Jacklyn’s. “Everything just lined up. And we moved in here and ever since then, it’s been great.”
King’s Beach Housing provides low- income workers and families who previously lived in substandard converted motel rooms, cabins, and trailers with safe, energy-efficient places to live, all wrapped up in an affordable, practical package.
Jacklyn understands, and sums it up nicely, “We can function in society because of Kings Beach housing.”
The Sacramento Senior Safe House serves as a comfortable and healing atmosphere for abused and neglected seniors. HCD’s funding helped build this safe haven for seniors who are recovering from real-life nightmares.
John is one of those seniors. He was hospitalized after being beaten so badly that he lost his sight in one eye.
Before Sacramento Senior Safe House was created, John and other abused seniors like him would have been placed in less-than- ideal temporary quarters like motels or hospitals, and may have continued to be dependent on those who had abused them.
“Everything got a lot better when I came here. I didn’t have to worry anymore,” says John. After their physical wounds have healed, vulnerable seniors are able to mend psychologically in the loving refuge of Sacramento Senior Safe House, funded in part by HCD.