“Our kids can enjoy a normal life.”
-Jessica & Joel[/wpcol_1quarter] [wpcol_3quarter_end id=”” class=”” style=””] Jessica and Joel both grew up in structured, well-to-do families. “We really didn’t know what it was to struggle when we were younger,” says Jessica. “We weren’t rich, but we always had everything we needed.”
They met online, and soon married and moved back to Joel’s hometown in Tennessee. It wasn’t long, though, before Jessica found out her mother was ill. They decided to make the move back to California to live with and care for her.
As her mother dealt with her medication as well as memory loss, Jessica became increasingly worried for her children. “She wanted to spend time alone with the kids, but I couldn’t allow them to be exposed to some of the dangers that became present,” Jessica says. After her mother gave them an ultimatum, Jessica and Joel felt that they had no choice but to leave.
They lived in their car for a week, then found a shelter in Pomona. “As a couple, let me tell you, it is hard,” Jessica says with conviction. “It’s easy to throw in the towel, but we stuck it out.” For seven months, they searched and applied for housing across the San Gabriel Valley, only to be rejected for having bad credit.
Thankfully, they found out about Marv’s Place, a 19-unit apartment complex for formerly homeless and low-income families. With no credit check requirement, they were able to move in. “We’re very grateful that our kids can go play on the playground outside, meet with other kids and have fun,” Joel says with a smile. “They can enjoy a normal life.”
In addition to the facilities available for their kids, Jessica and Joel also enjoy making use of the workshops at Marv’s Place, such as computer classes and career development. Jessica, in particular, is looking forward to assisting with future classes. “I’m hoping to help out with the Spanish-speaking students,” she says. They’re also looking forward to taking the kids to Disneyland, as well as finding opportunities to give back. “We’ve learned to be grateful,” says Joel. “We want to be able to help those who’ve been in our position.”