Lives at Pippin Orchards in Watsonville.

A resident and his family return to normalcy after being sidetracked by a health crisis.

In his own words:

I’ve lived in Watsonville for 54 year years. This is where my parents met and fell in love. It’s the only city I’ve ever called home, and I’m proud to be able to continue to call this my home.  

I had a normal life. I’ve been blessed with an amazing family: A beautiful wife and three incredible children. I was a homeowner, master carpenter, and had been working at my job in property maintenance up until 2008. Then, it all came crashing down. 

I got sick. Esophageal cancer. I developed 3 tumors in my throat and my heart valve was destroyed. I lost almost half my body weight, and my body had completely shut down. It was impossible to stand on my own two feet between the endless hospital visits and month-long stays in nursing homes.  

It was only a matter of time before I lost my job. I had no medical insurance, and the medical bills just kept pouring in. It took 3 years before I started drawing SSI, and it ate at everything I had. Before I knew it, I was $600k deep in medical debt, and the bank foreclosed on my home. 

As a result, my credit was devastated. I couldn’t secure anything in the area for my family. We became homeless.  

It was 6 rough years of bouncing around, staying in motels, campgrounds, and living in our van. I couldn’t address my health; I was in a nursing home at least once a year with pneumonia. Every winter, for a month, month and-a-half. We couldn’t save any money, and our emotional well-being was at an all-time low. 

Homeless Persons Health Project, part of the Homeless Action Partnership, connected with us while we were homeless. They told us that MidPen was accepting applications for Pippin. I thought there was no way I would be able to get in because it would’ve filled up immediately. But HPHP encouraged me to apply, telling me that MidPen works on a lottery system to provide more equal opportunity for everyone.  

When I found out we were accepted to move into a two-bedroom apartment at Pippin, I couldn’t be any happier. This meant that my son, who had moved to take care of me while I had health issues and consequently also became homeless, could continue live with us and take care of his mother and me. It was a no brainer, and Pippin was our godsend.  

Since moving into Pippin, I can honestly say that this is more than I could’ve asked for. I’m happier, and healthier. Even my doctor is shocked. He says I’m the healthiest I’ve been since I became disabled 10 years ago. When our house foreclosed, we put all of our stuff in storage. Finally, we’re able to move our belongings out and make this our home.  

I’ve always taken care of my family, and I’m proud to be getting back to taking care of them again. We love it here – Pippin is not just a house, it’s a home. We love the place, and we love the people. Thank you MidPen, you have given my family more than just a home, you’ve given us our lives back.