How can a commitment to help a sick parent result in being homeless? That’s what happened to Antonio Canady, a Rural Neighborhoods resident at Casa Cesar Chavez. His mother experienced serious health problems and he stayed at her home to help take care of her. But on her death, his plans to continue leasing her home fell through and for the first time in his life, Antonio was left without a home.
This military veteran of seven years spent nights living in a municipal park followed by six months in a homeless shelter. One day a counselor told him about Casa Cesar Chavez, an SRO that provides stable affordable accommodations to unaccompanied individuals. He applied in January 2012, and has been thankfully living at Casa Cesar Chavez ever since.
“I work at the packing house sometimes 12 hours a day,” Canady explains. “It’s seasonal employment from October ‘til May. Unemployment helps in the summer, but I still chase down any income or work I can find.” His seasonal job makes it challenging to afford rent, utilities, food and gas. “I bike to work, to church, wherever I am going. It’s a bit scary coming home late at night from the packinghouse, but the housing staff gave me a reflective vest and flashlight.”
Casa Cesar Chavez offers 144 unaccompanied men and women a permanent quality residence for less than $200 per month. Not all are homeless; not all are engaged in agricultural. “This place is a blessing to me. I had no place to go. It makes me so happy sometimes I break down and cry. People here really care. I pray for them every day.”