Lives at St. Stephens Senior Housing in Santa Cruz.
A senior gets to spend her “Golden Years” near her family and the community she loves thanks to affordable housing.
Jeannie grew up in the Santa Cruz area and raised her two daughters there as well. For many years, she worked as a recreation specialist and volunteered with various organizations in Santa Cruz while her daughters were growing up. About 18 years ago, Jeannie decided to move to southern Oregon. As Santa Cruz was getting more expensive and crowded, she thought moving would be a good change. After a few years, however, Jeannie began to regret her decision. She never felt so alone before.
Jeannie tried to move back to Santa Cruz but could never find a place she could afford. In Oregon, Jeannie was even living with a roommate to afford the rent, which wasn’t ideal. Jeannie’s health deteriorated, and worse, she rarely saw her family. Jeannie’s daughters got married and had children of their own, but she wasn’t able to be a part of their lives. Jeannie’s heart broke knowing that her granddaughters saw her as a stranger.
Although she added her name to Santa Cruz County’s Housing Authority wait list nine years ago, Jeannie was beginning to lose hope. So many people need affordable homes. One of Jeannie’s daughters kept track of her wait list status – and when St. Stephens was being built it was like a new hope. She was overjoyed when she got the invitation from the Housing Authority to do paperwork, even! That meant it was really possible that Jeannie could move back to Santa Cruz and finally be near her family. When she got the call that she was accepted to live at St. Stephens, Jeannie didn’t hesitate to pack her bags and return to the city she loves.
Living at St. Stephens has improved Jeannie’s life so much. Her blood pressure and blood sugars have gone down because she’s less stressed. She loves going for walks around the community. Jeannie’s gotten to know her neighbors, and enjoys the social interaction at St. Stephens. Moreover, Jeannie now has family and support all around her. They can do things together and visit each other several times a week. Jeannie’s young granddaughters, who didn’t really know her before, now love to come to Grandma Jeannie’s house and bake cupcakes or go to the beach.
Jeannie says, “It just touches me; after all these years of being alone, I’m not alone anymore.”