AIR FORCE VETERAN
Affordable Housing For Homeless Veteran
Allen Merriman, U.S. Air Force Veteran and resident of Maidu Village — A Project Go affordable housing development for seniors
Allen has spent a lifetime giving back; first serving six years in the U.S. Air Force, ten years in the Civil Air Patrol and, with a master’s degree in vocational education, he worked as a job counselor as well as teaching shop and electronics.
Five years ago Allen was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Because of this and the gradual loss of funding for vocational programs in schools, Allen eventually fell into a series of unfortunate circumstances including losing his job, losing his home and he ended up homeless, living in his truck for a short time.
With the help of a host of nonprofit agencies and the VA, Allen then began stabilizing his life and finding proper housing. The VA provides help with his medical condition, he was helped by Volunteers of America to fill out necessary forms for the services he is qualified for, and he found quality affordable housing with Project Go — just a few miles from his son, who lives in Rocklin.
Facing the realities of living with the symptoms of Parkinson’s, Allen has days of being nearly immobilized. He could not be more appreciative of Project Go’s senior housing development which provides him with a safe, stable and comfortable home that he can afford.
TEACHER OF THE YEAR
Affordable Housing Is an Investment In Our Future
Corrie Traynor, Placer County and California State Teacher of the Year 2016-2017
I live in Roseville but I cannot afford to buy a home here. My rent is very high yet I love Roseville and I want to live in or close to the community where my friends are and where I work. I’ve been going through this for several years now—waiting for the housing prices to drop or for more affordable homes to be built. I understand the need personally and I understand it professionally.
There are choices for people to make; either live outside of the area that you work, outside of the county—or bite the bullet, stay in the area and do without some other things so you can afford to pay much higher rent than you’d like. I’m currently one of the latter. My current rent is high for what I’m getting and I was trying last summer to rent a home here, but I found that trying to get into a home is ridiculous. I was told they require you to have up to four times as much monthly income for what your monthly payment will be. That’s hard to make for a lot of people.
I’m fine where I am at the moment, but to be able to buy a home would be a real stretch for me—even with having the money available to put down on a home, I don’t want to be paying an exorbitant monthly payment. I have a co-worker that teaches in the district who has been trying to buy a home in Roseville but had to end up buying out of the county because he couldn’t afford it here. I hear this sort of story often.
When it comes to the educational standpoint, parents want their children to be in a good school district. They want their kids to go to safe schools. They want the best for their children. Unfortunately, they’re being priced out and often can’t find a home they can afford here.
We have many families where they are living in combined family households—two or more families living together or with extended family—so they can afford to live here. We have many working families that are struggling with having to bring in other renters, other family members or two families living together so that they can afford to live here.
If I had to guess at a number, I’d say somewhere around 25% of our kids are in that kind of situation. In general this living situation affects some of these students performance in school; mainly because they are not getting enough sleep or not getting restful sleep. Many of these students share rooms with several others or they don’t have a room and they sleep on a couch.
Difficult Finding Affordable Home Near Work
Aaron Rea, Firefighter, Auburn City Fire Department
Many people think a firefighter makes enough money to afford to buy or rent a home here, but it all depends on what fire department you work for and how long you’ve been there. The average firefighter normally doesn’t make a lot of money working for most fire departments in Placer County. With that said, the Auburn City Fire Department pay is fair—it’s okay. But firefighters in places like Newcastle or Penryn make less than us.
I would probably be fairly comfortable to find a house for around $250K, but you can’t easily find a house for that price in Placer County and, if you do, then it needs tons of work which requires a lot more money on top of the purchase price to make it livable. I know of one local firefighter who was in that situation—he could only find an old, probably 1950s, house but he had to do major work in order to bring it up to code.
I currently live in Auburn and I rent a house with two roommates. I have a brother who is an electrician in the county—he makes more than I do—and he can’t afford to live in Placer County. He ended finding a home in another county because it’s less expensive there. I have a friend that did the same thing. I really would like to stay here fairly close to Auburn and live near where I work—particularly because of the work I do—and I was born and raised in Auburn. I’ve been looking pretty seriously at houses for the past year—I don’t need a huge house—but anything available is far too expensive.
Affordable Housing For Local Nonprofit Employees
Connie Treacy, Family Resource Specialist at Kids First, Roseville
I had an affluent life at one time – until the recession hit. That also ended up affecting my marriage. After my divorce I essentially had to start all over and I couldn’t afford to do this on my own, so I moved into my mom’s home in Lincoln with my two children and have been there for three years. At the same time, I began working at a nonprofit in Roseville that provides programs for children and families—where I am now a Family Resource Specialist.
Of course, I would love to rent a place to live for just me and my children, but that’s quite expensive in this area. I’ve made a choice to stay doing what I’m doing at Kids First, helping families and giving back—and in this field the pay isn’t always the best, but it’s worthwhile work that’s needed in the community. Would I love to have my own house, a home, like I’ve had before? You bet I would. But I can’t find someplace that’s affordable here.
I think more people find themselves in that position now, especially after the recession. It’s hard for people who are facing new beginnings and having to start all over again—which is a huge process for anyone losing their home or having their family break up through divorce, domestic violence or other circumstances.
Doing the kind of work that I do—necessary work for families and children in Placer County—being able to rent a two or three bedroom here is far too difficult. So, here I am renting the upstairs from my mom, trying to make another room for my son as he’s getting older—he’s 14 now. But I can’t afford to move out. You’re looking at a minimum of $1,500 or $1,600 a month to rent something that would work for us—and even that’s not easy to find.
People that work in this community of giving—nonprofit services—aren’t in the highest paying jobs, yet its vital work and they need affordable places to live in the community too.
I’ve been on the path of needing assistance–like a lot of people in our community have–so I know what it’s like needing help and wanting to get out of a situation and bettering your life. Being able to find a home that is affordable is part of that process of standing on your own two feet.