Charles, a Navy veteran who lives at Veterans Park in Pomona, is pursuing higher education with the help of a Building Bright Futures scholarship he received in June 2023.
His wife, Alexa, takes part in financial empowerment workshops through Pathways to Economic Empowerment, which helps families build budgetary skills.
Meanwhile, their daughters, Athena and Azaria, attend Hope through Housing’s enriching after-school program, and the entire family benefits from the nonprofit’s food distribution to prep a week of nutritious meals.
“We don’t have anybody out here, so being able to interact with our neighbors and the property staff makes Veterans Park feel like home,” Alexa said. “The adjustment to a new place was hard at first but now everyone feels like extended family. The activities help us get out of our homes and meet new people while the resources allow us to worry less about the everyday and focus on what’s to come.”
The family works closely with Services Coordinator Melody Sitt to set personal, educational and financial goals, such as saving up for a house.
Melody said the family is an integral part of the community.
“The family wants to build and sustain community here – they give and receive a lot, so to me they are the perfect fit for this property,” Melody said. “It’s always a delight to have them.”
The family of four came in 2022 to National CORE’s Veterans Park, an affordable housing community for veterans and their families. Alexa learned about National CORE and Hope through Housing after scouring the internet for accessible housing for months. They had been living with family in Oakland but were itching for a new beginning and a place to call their own in Southern California.
Now coming up on their second year at the property, Charles and Alexa are striving for financial security through higher education.
In April 2024, Charles received a $1,000 Hope through Housing scholarship, which he has used in his full-time pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in occupational safety and health at Columbia Southern University. Alexa is working part time toward a bachelor’s degree in environmental safety at the same institution while working as a full-time caretaker for Athena, who has special needs.
Being students, parents and tutors can be tough for the couple, but they’re working diligently to obtain their dream home in two years.
“We want to be comfortable, be happy and have a place of our own one day,” Charles said. “Through all of the financial and personal workshops Hope through Housing puts on, we understand what that process will look like when it happens.”