In late December 2017, my five year old son and I became homeless for the first time. I was attending Monterey Peninsula College on track to graduate that June with my associates degree in Human Services and I was working part time on campus as well. It was so convenient that my son was enrolled in an amazing preschool that was located on the same campus as my school and work. However being that I’m a single mom, with family that has struggles of their own, lives far away, and who provide little to no help, I was quite literally on my own. We lived in my car while I finished school, and while I was trying to figure out how I could get us by day to day.
Thankfully, a friend told me about Dorthies Place and HRC and I immediately reached out to them. While I was in the process of getting a Homeless Set Aside Voucher from Dorthies Place, I graduated with my AA and a few weeks after that, I moved in to a two bedroom apartment. HRC helped me so much by paying for the deposit and housing goods such as blankets, pillows, washcloths, and towels.
While I was homeless, I cried a lot while my son was asleep because I honestly thought it was going to be impossible for me to get out of that situation alone. It’s only because of the help from HRC and Dorthy’s Place, that I now have a home to raise my son in, and we are beyond grateful for the support and encouragement we had along the way. Thank you!
Our family decided to relocate to California from New Mexico in May of 2018. We had worked hard to save up what we could and packed our vehicle with what little we had to head out for a new start. Once we got to California, the challenges began. We began living in hotels and working daily while also transferring all of our information to this state. At this peak time in the produce season there were no vacancies within apartments or extended stay hotels that we could find. As the weeks went by our savings was being drained from having to pay for hotels and managing to fix meals without a kitchen accessible to us. During the month of June, my husband was released from his job due to a slow part of the season and no hours being available. This was when we began to lose hope in our situation. We couldn’t just pack up and leave back to New Mexico. Our vehicle was not in the best condition, no jobs meant not having income and our savings was going even faster than before. We began seeking a way to stay in our vehicle and family aided us where they could. Shelters were not an option for us due to our son’s disabilities and PTSD. We were directed to apply for Cal-Works and this is where our case worker Alice Garcia breathed hope into our situation. She encouraged us through the resources available through Monterey County.
One of the programs we were referred to was with the Housing Resource Center in Salinas. There we met with case workers who would assist us in finding the stability we desperately needed. Through working and completing our housing searches, we were able to find a home for our family and get the support financially that we needed to get us going. This program helped us in many ways, allowing us to choose where we wanted to live and what we felt would be within our budgets. We were only limited by the efforts we put into the program with our searches and contacts with property managers we would meet with. The process itself took us about 4 weeks but we were stayed vigilant and hopeful that a home would come to us soon. We found the key to our success through the program was in explaining the program’s services to the property managers in detail and only after meeting with them face to face.
On August 24, 2018 our family signed the lease to an apartment and what became the launching point to stability and independence back into our lives. The moment that we showed the keys to our son, he burst into tears of joy and it was then we knew how much this whole experience had changed us. We are forever thankful for the people who aided us along the way, our angels, and the impact they made on our lives. To the donors, the County, and all those who have a hand in this process, we say Thank You! You have blessed our lives so that we can continue on in a positive pathway.
The Ruiz Family
Life is full of struggles being a single mother. No imagine being a single mother of two and battling with cancer. I first became homeless because a man, my landlord whom I rented a room from drinking buddy, tried to abuse my daughter. Along with the stress of becoming homeless having two kids came feeling sick, nauseous,overwhelm,and felt like giving up. The unending self battle to not lose hope and faith felt unmanageable,as my life spiraled into a deeper hole of depression. Shortly after being admitted into the e.r I got diagnosed with stomach cancer at stage 4. During my stay there, a social worker from paliative care Megg told me about H.R and said she could refer me if I'd like. Megg lead me to the one phone call that would change my life for good. After answering a few simple questions and following a few steps I was placed in a motel. A warm place to rest my head and heal. A place safe place for my kids to sleep and feel safe. I began to feel hopeful and grateful again.I saw I wasn't alone anymore. We never have to struggle alone. We now live in a 3 bedroom home. My daughter's grades began to improve. The smile on her face is more visible than before. She has a positive attitude. My son on the other hand has stop being whiney. He speaks what he needs rather than crying for it. He calls this the big house. The blessing of reaching out for help when you need it is full of blessings and does make a difference. Thanks to the coordinators , the staff and counselors of Housing Resources my children now have a place to keep warm at night . A place to feel safe. And a place to call their own.
Thank you Juanita, Korina, and the rest of the team at HRC,
For making it possible to find housing for my children and I when we were faced with months of homelessness after losing our place. It’s been a long struggle with applying and being denied tenancy due to multiple reasons. This has been very stressful, especially being a single mother of three small children and living on a limited income. Working with Korina and Juanita gave me the courage to keep the search going when I felt like giving up. My hardship was heard and understood. It’s not every day we wake up and ask to lose the rood over our head. With the help of HRC, I was able to be relocated to a move affordable and nice area. Thank you HRC!
Last September, I was physically unable to work due to an illness that led to me being homeless. When I was seeking assistance, I went to the Department of Social Services to receive cash aid and food stamps to help support my family. I was recommended by my caseworker about HRC and how they assist homeless families. I was on their waiting list for a couple of weeks before I was called to do an initial interview for the HSP program. Due to my medical condition about not being able to work, my caseworker at HRC helped me obtain my voucher. It did not take long after obtaining my voucher to be housed. I am a single father caring for three children and HRC helped me get back on my feet and get my family a permanent house. I appreciate everything that HRC has done for my family and me.
We are the Martinez-Villalobos family. We would like to thank everyone at HRC for their help in finding the perfect place for us to call home. In September of 2019, we became homeless. But with the help of Vanessa and Zac, it is not November and we are no longer homeless. My Children have a place to sleep and a roof over their heads. For that, we are very thankful and happy to have received help from the HRC. We are not ready for the holidays in our new home!
Thank you so much and Happy Holidays!
Celina Martinez and Family
Thank you so much! I am very appreciative for all your help. In my future, when I hope I am financially situated, [I want to] volunteer and help out the families in need. It's a great program HRC & I would love to have a business of my own that can help out the community one day. Thank you to my case manager who kept me motivated to get to where I wanted to be.
We can't thank you enough!!
My name is Monica Martinez. I am 32 years old, born and raised in Salinas, CA. In 2016, I found myself homeless for making bad choices. I was homeless for about 3 ½ years. The worst experience ever. It’s not the life, I slept outside buildings, broke into empty buildings, in cars, friends’ houses, motel rooms, and in tents by the train tracks. It was awful and scary shit.
Finally after all this time, I got the opportunity to move into a studio and I’ve been blessed with Housing Resource Center. Juanita is an awesome person. She’s caring, and she is on top of her game, meaning she’s a hard working woman. Thanks to you and to your company for helping me, blessing me, caring for me, and being patient with me. I am very excited, happy, grateful, and thankful for all you’ve done.
For a long time, I struggled finding a place to call home for my family and I. It was hard, I am a single mother and for a long time, I felt alone and hopeless. Most of the time, it was a choice between a place to stay for sleep or for food to eat. Long nights spent in the car for my family and I. Once I heard of the organization, HRC, I reached out immediately. I was put in contact with a woman named Juanita who was so kind and helpful. My oldest son had found my home online and immediately let Juanita know and she was eager to provide assistance. She helped book all the appointments and it all happened so quickly. I truly believe this was a miracle for my family and I. They provided the first two month’s rent that was truly amazing! We are now happy and blessed to be in our new home. I am extremely grateful to have been given this gift and will never forget.
Thank you all,
My name is Maricruz Hernandez,
I'm a single mother of 2 boy and 2 girls that range from 5 to 17 years old. I became homeless after an ugly separation from my exhusband. I was super lost. Living from one place to another. My kids were so tired of packing everyday because we didn't know what was our next destination.
Thankfully one day I was referred out to the Housing Resource center office were I got to meet Espi and Aliza. They made me feel so welcomed and they never judge me. These two lady's are the most understanding people. They guided me all the way through. Helped me to get a house but they also encouraged me to find a job.
I want to thank Espi and Aliza for helping me out during those very difficult times. Their help has been invaluable to me and I don't know how I would of managed without there help and support.
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to me. I sincerely appreciate the time you spent reviewing my application and looking for houses. Your advice was very helpful and gave me a new perspective on available opportunities.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude for the contribution you have made towards my long journey of self-sufficiency. Your agency was the final piece in my story of independence. As you well know, my road to recovery started almost 4 years ago and up until now, I have not known what it’s like to pay my own way. I have been on assistance the last couple of years and in transitional housing with my lease coming up in November. During this time, I CHOOSE to make the next right decision or go down the right path for me and my family every time that fork in the road cam my way. Especially with the help of supportive services like HRC. The right CHOICE was to get my A.S. in Early Childhood Education and Development at Monterey Peninsula College, repair my credit and pay off my debt, become an active productive member in my neighborhood and community, seek full time employment and get off any and all government assistance. It wasn’t easy, but it has been done. A key part of my independence was HRC and with the services HRC offered, it enabled me to focus on my full-time employment, the worry of not paying application costs out of pocket, apply for homes with confidence, and completely repair my credit. As of today, I no longer have any collection actions on my Equifax report and all my accounts I have paid since working with HRC have been deleted. With all your effort, you have helped me find, secure, and pay for my own residence completely and I am independent from this point on. You are an amazing person [Zac] who really gave support not only professionally but compassionately. You were sensitive to my needs and to my wants, helping me recognize what is practical and necessary. I have learned an enormous amount about the housing market and how to be a successful and restpectful tenant. I wish you all the best and erst assured any client who gets you is extremely lucky to have you. We can all go forward know the system can work and has.
Kindest Regards and Endless Appreciation,
Thricia L. Whited
I remember the day we first became homeless it was just me and my two littles trying to figure our next move. I was working as much as I could while Dad was away and he was supposed to be home in a few days. We had to figure out where we were gonna go and how. Although it took several months we finally found a home.
Our housing specialist Eliza worked tirelessly to find something for us. She followed up with us regularly and would communicate as often as necessary. Our Case manager was Espie and she helped us so much. She gave us hope. We were so blessed the day Eliza called and said, “I have a lead and you’re gonna love it.” She was right!
She knew both Dillon and I worked in Monterey. She found this amazing apartment down the road from both places of employment. We were over the moon. We could not wait to move in.
Move in day was March 6. As we drove up, Dillon and I were anxious. We could not wait to finally have a place to come home. We met up with our property manager Ana and Espie. As we exited the moving truck and walked in, Dillon and I were gleaming with happiness and anticipation. The moment we walked through that door, we knew this was home. Such a beautiful place with large windows for the sun to come in every morning. The kitchen is petite enough so I can reach several storage areas. Bright with an amazing view of the surrounding scenery. The area is so green and lively. The best part of all, we finally had a place to come home. We didn’t have much but the Housing Resource Center helped us in more ways than one.
HRC helped my family and I feel normal again. The day we moved in was one of our happiest. We couldn’t have done it without Eliza and Espie. We are so blessed to have such wonderful people who care about their clients and don’t just see a number but they see the good in them. We will forever be grateful to them. Thank you HRC and most of all, thank you Eliza and Espie for giving us a new home.
My name is Paul and this is my letter of success! Beginning 4 years ago back in 2016 I have the misfortune of becoming homeless. Every day was a struggle consisting of trials and tribulations. I seen many people around me who had become comfortable mentally and physically lacking guidance and/or direction to getting themselves out of being homeless. Due to poor decision making in my past, I served 4 years behind bars (2010-2015). When my time was up, I was paroled and became homeless. I had no foundation, family support, nor anywhere to plant my feet firmly in a community that I considered home. With no firm support for those closest to me because of my addictive lifestyle and unfortunate chain of events, one of my family members lost their housing, leading me to live in a motor home for about two years. This journey had a few good times, but mainly bad, experiencing poor living conditions, lack of food, facilities, and harassment by local law enforcement. On the top of no consistency and access to life’s daily necessities, it has been hard to find consistent work and I began to become a product of my environment.
Agony and anguish developed and was always in the back of my mind. I wasn’t standing tall, I had to get back up. I needed a helping hand, I needed solid resources. In 2018, I began street life in a tent and for about two years, the recreational trail was my “home”. During the majority of my homeless span, I have been working with the Homeless Coalition, and occasionally working with gigs. Many long dats and trying nights later, I received the call I have been waiting for regarding the opportunity of housing and resources with Moon Gate Plaza. I continued steadfast and was led to the Housing Resource Center (HRC) who helped seal the deal on my rehabilitation into what is called normal society. The HRC has been a blessing, for without them, I wouldn’t of had the means to afford move in costs and more. The HRC has definitely lended a helping hand, which I appreciate to the fullest. The HRC showed nothing less than understanding and compassion, assisting all whom as less fortunate.
I now look forward to a brighter future with my feet planted firmly, as I become better equipt with the tools to overcome adversity. Moving forward in the directions of betterment, united we stand and divided we fall!