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