Proud parents Jennifer and Juan enjoy marking the milestones of their two happy and healthy young sons. As residents of Edwina Benner Plaza, the family gets to enjoy a supportive community that helps ensure stability in their lives and gives them the opportunity to achieve their goals. But these strides were hard-earned and even sometimes at risk, because for the past two years, Jennifer and Juan didn’t have a place to call home.
Jennifer and Juan didn’t expect they would experience homelessness. The family lived in a house and José worked as a gardener while Jennifer took care of Juan Junior. This all changed with Jennifer became incarcerated, and soon after, Juan encountered a medical issue that forced his hospitalization. Soon after Jennifer returned, the family lost their home and they were forced to live in a van on the streets of Santa Clara County.
In those two years, Jennifer and Juan tried to find something in the Bay Area they could afford, but it was a challenge – and it became all the more pressing as she was pregnant with her second son, José. Jennifer and Juan knew they couldn’t raise their boys without permanent housing, and so they connected with the County of Santa Clara’s Office of Supportive Housing (OSH).
From there, the family made strides. OSH introduced Jennifer and Juan to Peninsula Healthcare Connection (PHC) and New Directions case management, and ultimately, PHC helped to identify a housing solution at MidPen’s Benner Plaza in of the 13 apartments specially designated for families experiencing homelessness.
Since moving to Benner Plaza, Jennifer and Juan’s lives have changed dramatically. Jennifer successfully completed her probation and regularly meets with her New Directions case manager and onsite case manager. She’s even secured employment with Google providing administrative support. Juan has been able to use his expertise in gardening to assist with programs at Benner Plaza like establishing community planters. Juan Junior is enrolled in school and can take part in youth programming offered onsite. And José recently turned one, knowing only of comfort and safety with his family. Jennifer and Juan could not be any more grateful to call Benner Plaza their home.