Stories from our Residents

As 2023 comes to a close, we wanted to share stories from two of our residents.

These two stories show the importance of our affordable housing and supportive services – in both challenging times and periods of growth. RCD’s affordable housing has changed the lives of these families and they are just two among more than 5,400 residents who call an RCD community their home.

We are proud to be a vital part of providing affordable homes in the Bay Area. We greatly appreciate donors like you, whose support and encouragement makes our work possible.

interior courtyard of quetzal gardens

Keoni’s Story

For nearly three years, 21-year-old Keoni has been the head of his household, working full-time and taking care of his three younger brothers as they completed high school. With support from his pastor, RCD’s Resident Services, and Property Management, he has kept his family together and in their home.

Keoni’s mother moved her family into RCD’s Terrace Glen apartments just a few months before the pandemic hit. The boys were in school via Zoom and their mother was struggling with health issues, but life was stable until she suddenly passed away from COVID-19 in January 2021. She went into the hospital and was gone within four days. The shock and loss the boys felt was completely overwhelming.

“Thank god for Marvin, our property manager,” Keoni says. He was so patient with me and helped me a lot. I had no idea how rent worked when we lost our mom. And Ms. Catherine (RCD’s resident services coordinator), she’s keeping me organized.”

It’s been a tough journey, but now Keoni is hopeful for the future. He discovered his talent for boxing during the pandemic when the studio across the street was “the only place to go.” Now he’s headed for the Olympic trials in Louisiana in early December.

“My mom wanted to move here for a better life. She saw California as a way to get a new opportunity,” says Keoni. “I feel like I owe it to her to see it through. I’m on a mission. My brothers have struggled and I’m just trying to help them move forward to the next step – whatever that is. It’s been hard but so many people believed we could do it.”

Justin Shares Gratitude for his Community

Ten years ago, when Justin was in the second grade, his family moved into RCD’s Los Medanos Village in Pittsburg. They love their home and have close friendships with many of their neighbors.

“Living here, it has helped my family a lot,” says Justin. “After we moved here, things just kept getting better. These apartments have really led us to so many opportunities.”

Justin participated in the free, on-site, after-school program offered by RCD’s services partner, Hope Solutions, for several years. He benefitted from the tutoring and the social time with other children in the community and he says Ms. Rosemary, who runs the program, “is like a second mother” to him.

justin giving a speech
Justin accepts his scholarship award at RCD’s annual event

“I made so many memories in that afterschool program. We would have movie nights over there, times when we could just play on the computers. It was just really fun. It was amazing growing up here.”

Justin recently graduated from high school and is one of nine residents who received an educational scholarship from RCD’s annual Irwin Mussen Scholarship Program. He’s currently working two jobs and saving up before he starts college next semester at Los Medanos College. He plans to transfer in a couple of years to a university with a construction management major.

Justin deeply appreciates his family’s home and hopes more people will understand “the amount of opportunity that housing can provide for the next generation, for future scholars and students… people who could make a difference. If you are given this kind of opportunity, you could really do anything because you have more money to put into college, to pay for things your family needs.”

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