On a normal day, Monique watches her youngest son walk just across the street to his elementary school and sends her other children off to high school. As a “PTA mom” and former president of the PTA, she places a high value on education.
Monique and her family are residents at Clark Commons, Jamboree’s newest affordable housing community located in Buena Park, California. Just a year ago, she and her children were living in a crowded, noisy apartment with her mother, her sister, and her sister’s two children. When the landlord raised the rent, she was forced to move her family briefly into a motel before finding an apartment at the precarious limit of her income.
Today, the family lives in a new three-bedroom apartment with access to after-school homework programs, computers, and adult education classes. Her older daughter says, “I feel safer here so I can go outside more often. I don’t have to stay inside all the time. I can have my friends over and go to the park. And, my family has more fun with each other because we don’t have to worry about where we’re going next.”
Monique’s story is not unique. As the cost of renting in California has sky-rocketed over the past few years, hard-working families with good jobs are finding it more and more difficult to stretch their paychecks far enough to cover the rent, with very little left over for utilities, insurance, even food.
Before moving to Clark Commons, new residents Reymonte, his wife Rachel and their two-year-old daughter lived in a small one-bedroom apartment in north Orange County. Even with income from his job in Security at Disneyland – a job he’s held for six years – it was a challenge every month to meet the rent and other necessities.
Their affordable apartment provides a financial margin that allows them to live a more normal life. Rachel will soon graduate with a bachelor’s degree in social work, and she and Reymonte are expecting their second child later this year. “We love that our community is walking distance to our church, grocery stores, the bank,” Rachel said. “There’s a tot lot and barbecues on the second floor and a beautiful park, where our daughter can play and have her little friends over. We are so blessed to be here.”
PTA mom Monique is now also working to complete her own high school degree, after leaving school in the 12th grade. Then, she plans to continue with vocational training to become a paralegal. "My life has been a struggle but I keep moving forward. I want to be a role model for my kids.”