Housing serves as a stabilizing force in the lives of many Housing Authority residents striving towards self-sufficiency, including vulnerable populations such as the previously homeless, seniors, and people with disabilities. These diverse households have unique life experiences and a variety of needs. To address the housing needs of our community, the Housing Authority of the City of Alameda (AHA) is targeting a goal of building more than 600 new affordable homes by 2030.
Furthermore, to help stabilize these households and enable them to flourish, AHA provides services via community partnerships which enhance the quality of life for AHA program participants and AHA tenants by providing access to critical services and resources from agencies such as the Alameda Food Bank, Alameda Family Services, Alameda Recreation and Parks Department, Alameda Boys & Girls Club, Alameda Point Collaborative, Building Futures, and the City of Alameda. Beyond AHA’s vast roster of community partners, AHA also contracts with LifeSTEPS to provide onsite resident services at all AHA properties. With this resident engagement and service-oriented approach, the real-life positive impact of these resources is tangible. The following AHA resident stories highlight the life-changing impact that AHA and LifeSTEPS can generate, one household at a time. (Names were changed to protect privacy of AHA residents and program participants.)
Supporting seniors with care
Maria, a 79-year-old senior resident, found herself facing a daunting challenge after she experienced a heart attack. Originally from the Philippines, Maria is a former beauty queen who moved to America in the early 1970s and is now a resident of AHA’s senior housing. In her retirement years, Maria’s health took a hit, leading to both medical complications and housing issues that jeopardized her housing stability. Maria was referred to LifeSTEPS Director of Social Services, Angel, to address ongoing struggles with housing. With Angel’s unwavering support and guidance, Maria’s life took a turn for the better. Angel worked diligently to reinstate Maria’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), ensuring she received over 60 hours of in-home assistance every month. This invaluable support addressed her health issues, by helping Maria find appropriate medical resources to improve her quality of life.
However, Angel’s work extended far beyond health matters. Maria, without family or children for support, found in Angel a reliable and caring source of support. Maria began to call upon Angel for assistance with renewing her Medi-Cal insurance , reducing her utility bills, and navigating complex government paperwork. With AHA and LifeSTEPS there every step of the way, Maria’s happiness and sense of security have increased. Maria has been able to maintain her housing and medical benefits, ensuring she can age in place with dignity and peace of mind.
Maria attests to the profound impact of LifeSTEPS in her life: “I have benefited a lot. Angel helps me whenever I need it, and he is reliable. I look forward to my visits with my Angel.”
Maria’s story proves that even small acts of support can change one’s outcome, and in Maria’s case, it has transformed her life. Through the Lifesteps and AHA partnership, senior residents like Maria can remain safely housed and dedicated individuals like Angel are there to ensure their well-being, one step at a time.
Journey to a transformed life
Holly was born and raised in Southern California, and relocated to the Bay Area in 1990. She currently resides in one of AHA’s family properties in Alameda. Her life was marked by prolonged periods of unemployment and homelessness, but despite the hardships, Holly remained resilient. She finds solace in cooking, a passion that brings her immense joy.
LifeSTEPS Director of Social Services, Trevor, met Holly during his resident outreach efforts, where he learned her struggles were quickly leading her to potential eviction. Focusing on keeping Holly housed, Trevor worked with her and the Community Manager to establish a rent payment plan, enabling her to clear her balance while ensuring timely payments. Furthermore, Trevor assisted Holly with completing a LifeSTEPS Emergency Assistance application, securing $400 in rental assistance, and connected her with a health professional to address her health-related needs. Trevor continued his work with Holly, updating her resume and cover letter, and teaching her how to craft a budget and manage her finances. Armed with these new skills, Holly placed her resume online, leading to calls offering permanent job opportunities, one of which she secured and holds to this day.
Holly is now current on her payments and works full-time as a cook. Without Trevor’s unwavering support and guidance, Holly might have faced housing insecurity.
Holly expressed her gratitude, saying, “Trevor has helped so much during one of the most challenging periods of my life and has been available as a compassionate listener. Thank you, Trevor, for everything.” Feeling empowered, she now frequently discusses moving forward and improving her life and is even considering pursuing further education in the coming year.
Holly’s story is a testament to the transformative power of support and the resilience of the human spirit. With LifeSTEPS, AHA, and Trevor by her side, she has not only achieved stability but also has regained her hope and determination to reach self-sufficiency.
Joshua Altieri is Community Relations Manager for the Housing Authority of the City of Alameda.
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