Affordable housing is a big issue but also can be a gift when given to people who need it, like Vanessa Torres. Vanessa Torres is a farm worker who has lived at one of our affordable housing properties, Villa Del Sol Apartments in Calexico, California, for the past three years. She has one son who is thirteen and is a single mother. Vanessa has been working in the fields in the Imperial Valley and in Arizona for ten years.
When she first started working in the fields, she lived in Mexicali, Mexico. It was difficult for her to cross the border every day to go to work. Vanessa was scared of being robbed or being detained, even though she has a Permanent Resident card from the United States. Vanessa also faced other difficulties while living in Mexico as a single mother. She was doing her best to raise her son without any help from the Mexican government or from her son's father.
It was very challenging for Vanessa and her son when they were finally able to move to the United States. Vanessa did not speak English and she was not accustomed to a country so different from her native one. Vanessa also realized that living in California is very expensive and more so on a farm worker's salary. Farm workers generally only work part of the year when vegetables are being harvested. Farm workers who wish to work all year long must travel great distances to find work in different states or in different parts of California.
Vanessa stated that she was extremely happy when she was approved for affordable housing in Calexico. Having this benefit has changed her life in many ways. She now has a permanent address in the United States, which made it possible for her son to attend school. Vanessa and her son were also able to receive help from the state in the form of food stamps and after school programs for low-income children of migrant as well as farm workers.
Vanessa is thankful for affordable housing. She can live very well with her son in an apartment that is both economical and very comfortable. Having a permanent home in the United States has given her son the opportunity to learn English and to obtain an education that will take him further. Affordable housing has impacted their lives greatly.