In 2007, Veronica was a single mom, working 12 hours a day at two jobs while caring for her one-year old son, with another little boy on the way. She was also homeless.
Home. It’s a word that some of us take for granted. For so many, it is one paycheck or medical emergency away from homelessness.
After the new owners of her apartment raised their rent and her sons’ father became physically abusive, Veronica moved out and tried to find a stable home for her and her sons. For months, Veronica tried to get her family into shelters and attempted to access social services that could help them find housing.
We were ineligible for shelters because many only had space for recovering drug addicts or alcoholics. Even women’s shelters required a police report of domestic violence within the past 30 days to qualify for services, even for women like me who wanted to escape their situation before our abuse escalated.
Veronica’s scraped by trying to save enough money for a deposit on a one bedroom apartment, but was denied from multiple communities with occupancy policies that required her to rent a 2 bedroom.
Veronica’s journey took her and her sons to a shelter in Vista, to Missouri, then back to San Diego; each time she moved her family to try and provide them with a better life and the possibility of a stronger future. But, it felt nearly impossible to achieve stability without a home and access to the basic needs her family needed to survive.
In 2012, Veronica received the call she had been waiting for: after 2 years of being on the Community HousingWorks (CHW) waitlist, there was finally a CHW home waiting for her in Poway. Learn what the past 6 years of living at a Community HousingWorks mean to Veronica in her own words:
When we moved in, we finally had a home to call our own. Living in a Community HousingWorks home brings security and stability not only to parents like me, but also to our children who may have never had a home in their lives. I have the relief of knowing I can afford the rent without fear of what we will have to go without until the next paycheck.
“Now, we have a home with enough space for all of us, with resources we can easily get to by car or on foot. With the school just across the street from our home, I can walk my kids to school every morning, or in my youngest son’s way of saying he is a big boy, “Mom just watch me from the corner” as he crosses with the crossing guards. I’ve even been able to grow a little garden on our patio with my sons, starting with a few flowers and graduating to corn, potatoes, blueberry bushes and more. With any concerns I’ve had, my relationship with the property staff has helped me find outside resources to help us, as well as informing me of services within our community. Our Community Center hosts monthly free Farmer’s Markets, financial education classes, and holiday events that my children look forward to every year. “
“Since moving into our home, I have new opportunities to save and provide my children the chance to participate in group sports, Boy Scouts and other activities. These activities allow them to play and socialize with other kids, which is especially important due to my oldest son’s struggle with Autism and us having no family around as positive role models."
Instead of feeling like we are just renting the small corners that make up our apartment, we feel that we live in a community that is the definition of home.
“Once I wasn’t spending my entire income on rent, I was able to go back to school and obtain a double Associate’s Degree from Miramar College, where I was even selected to give the commencement speech at our graduation last year. Now I’m in my second year at San Diego State, working towards a double Bachelors in Anthropology and Studio Arts and will graduate in Spring 2020. I am confidently juggling work, paying rent and I know that we won’t have to worry about where we lay our heads every night. Currently I am studying for the GRE while working with researchers at UCSD towards getting a research grant for a proposal I have worked on for a year. I want to continue with my Master’s Degree in the fall of 2020 in the hopes of working as a forensic anthropologist at the FBI or any other state or governmental agencies.”
“With completing my BA’s and going for an MA, I am not only securing a future where we will hopefully never have to question if we will have a home to return to. I am also first handedly showing my sons the determination and capabilities they will need, if they should ever find themselves facing what seems like an impossible situation.”
Without Community HousingWorks, my family wouldn’t be together, nor would we have the years of joy that we have had here. Most importantly, I would not have been able to continue to build on my dreams of a better future and know that someday, I will be able to buy our own dream home.