Doors opened when Nikiya got the call that her application had been accepted to live at Station Center. Before moving to the affordable community in Union City, Nikiya and her two children resided in West Oakland – where poverty and violence and lack of safety took a toll on the family’s daily lives. Nikiya recalled how hard it was to concentrate on work and school and raise two kids (one of whom was born with a severe medical disability that required routine hospital visits) in such an environment. When Nikiya realized that her son was “beginning to internalize” a lot of the negativity that was plaguing the neighborhood and expressing it with “anger and aggression,” she ultimately began the process to lift her family from hardship.
Nikiya entered the Alameda County Housing lottery in 2011. While she waited, she remained resilient, working hard and eventually finishing an Associate’s degree in Healthcare Administration in 2012, followed with an additional AA in Sociology in 2014. Nikiya’s one missing piece was finding a stable, permanent, and affordable place to live in the Bay Area; it all came together in 2015.
Nikiya says there’s a sense of “unity and belonging” within the community at Station Center, where living there is “like a breath of fresh air.” For the first time, Nikiya feels more at peace and free from violence, which allows her the space to continue to move forward with her education and career goals. She is working toward her BA in Health Science with an emphasis in Clinical Nursing from Cal State East Bay and hopes to someday work in the trauma center at Highland Hospital in Oakland. Nikiya also beams when she describes the positive changes she sees in her children; both kids are enrolled in the onsite After School program, where daily academic support has helped them improve in school and has helped her son feel more at ease.
Nikiya’s voice is filled with optimism and hope for her and her family’s future. “We’re not stagnant and we’re not stuck now,” she says. “There is more that we want to do and we won’t be limited.”