Three brothers living in a LifeSTEPS affordable housing community in Los Angeles will spend more time outdoors, thanks to a generous gift from the Sierra Nevada High School Cycling Organization. When the boys’ mother Jackie learned of the funding opportunity through her development’s resident services coordinator, she requested bikes, helmets and protective gear for her 14 and 11-year-olds, and a bike trailer for her four-year-old son with disabilities, so she that can safely take him for rides. The bikes will not only allow her sons to commute to and from school, but Jackie will now be able to enjoy outdoor time with her three boys, helping them lead healthier and more active lives.
We believe housing is foundational for strong, healthy and equitable communities. Studies show that housing insecurity creates chronic health disparities that impact how well a person lives, and for how long. These health impacts fall disproportionately on low-income people and people of color, exacerbating the already disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on these communities.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, nearly 35 percent of families spent more than 30 percent of income on housing in 2017. Because of this, families often sacrifice necessities like healthcare and nutrition in order to make rent, which can lead to increased stress, mental health problems and an increased risk of disease. Healthy housing promotes good physical and mental health, which is why we’re committed to expanding access to equitable and affordable housing for all.
California’s growing affordable housing crisis is especially challenging for those with mental health disabilities who are experiencing housing instability. Affordable, inclusive and safe housing is vital to good mental health and wellbeing. The leading cause of homelessness is a lack of affordable housing, and over the course of the COVID-19 crisis, LifeSTEPS’ client assistance program has provided more than $550,000 to keep struggling individuals, families, seniors and veterans across California from losing their housing. Additionally, through extensive case management, our specialized supportive services program has helped secure more than 260 permanent homes statewide for homeless residents struggling with mental health issues.
Director of Social Services Rosalba Fuentes has always known that her purpose in life is to help others, and her career at LifeSTEPS has allowed her to put her passion and talent to work. She finds true joy in supporting and empowering the adults, children and seniors she helps on a daily basis, and she is making a profound difference in their lives. This is why Rosalba is LifeSTEPS’ May employee of the month. “I love being part of the LifeSTEPS family. Giving back to the community is very important to me, and through LifeSTEPS, I have found a way to personally grow and move forward while helping others so the same,” stated Rosalba.