To the advocate and resident Maria Hernandez of Solara Apartments in Poway,
“Home is… peace, tranquility, safe, and secure.”
“He said yes! (Assemblyman) Brian Maienschein just said yes!”
It’s been an arduous journey getting to where she is now. When Maria first moved to California from Chicago, her expectation of the sun-kissed California lifestyle was quickly replaced with the reality of the situation.
Rent prices were too high for the single mother who depended on welfare and disability benefits. Unable to provide her daughter a decent quality of life in San Diego, she moved in with her aunt and uncle in Imperial Beach and worked to get herself on her feet. But as time passed, there was no indication that anything was going to change for Maria.
One day, her aunt literally saw a sign. It was a billboard for a newly-constructed affordable housing complex in Poway called Solara Apartments. Without hesitation, her aunt jotted down the phone number and encouraged Maria to immediately call. Within a few months, she got a call back with a move in date of April 7, 2007.
“As soon as I opened that door, it was like home,” Maria said. “We were finally home.”
Maria knew that this home was a blessing she could not and would not take for granted. Since moving into her home, she has become a devoted advocate for affordable housing. Her goal is to help anyone who is in a similar position to where she was once.
“I’ve been there, I’ve done that. I’ve struggled. I’ve lost both parents. I’m a recovering addict. I’ve been on section 8. A lot of politicians will don’t know because they’ve never experienced it.”
Maria’s advocacy led her to be a critical player in Residents United Network (RUN) and allowed her the opportunity to travel to Sacramento for Lobby Day for the last 3 years. On one of her visits to the capitol, she met California Assemblyman Brian Maienschein. Maria chased him down the halls and assertively introduced herself as constituent of his area and a resident of affordable housing. After this, it became her mission to convince the assemblyman to support affordable housing in the session and to ask for his support of the housing package known as Senate Bill 2, a measure that would create a permanent funding source for affordable housing through a new real estate fee.
For three years, Maria persistently met with the Poway Assemblyman, who remained non-committal. So, on September 14, 2017, when the votes were counted, Maria was in shock. Assemblyman Brian Maienschein had just officially supported the housing bill, making him the only Republican Assembly Member to vote in favor of Senate Bill 2.
Unable to contain her excitement, Maria woke her daughter with good news. “He said yes!” Maria Hernandez shouted. “(Assemblyman) Brian Maienschein just said yes!” For her daughter, it was just another school night, but for Maria, her years of advocating for affordable housing had paid off.
This victory wasn’t only for Maria, but for all affordable housing advocates who have devoted countless hours in hope of combatting the housing crisis. “I didn’t do this on my own, I had other people to help me,” Maria said.
Beyond advocating for affordable housing, Maria is currently studying political science in community college, hoping to continue fighting for affordable housing on behalf of those who still need it.
Maria has lived in Solara apartments for over ten years and says that she lives with a sense of security and pride that was provided through an affordable home.
Thank you for all you do and have done, Maria. We are proud to have you champion affordable housing!
2017 San Diego Housing Federation Annual Holiday Party and Volunteer Appreciation
Join us on Tuesday, December 5 from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm at The Lafayette Hotel for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while you network with colleagues, members, and friends. Help us celebrate our successful year and look forward to 2018 with a special tribute to our volunteers. We look forward to seeing you there! Tax deductible donations will be accepted at the door.
As part of our holiday celebration, we will recognize the 2017 Volunteer of the Year, Rickie Brown for her outstanding commitment and support of the San Diego Housing Federation.
Rickie Brown works with City Heights CDC, but her actions go far and beyond her role at work. She is currently the manager of the Hollywood Palms and Casa del Sol apartment complexes. She is a renter in City Heights and dedicates herself to provide resources, and safe and secure housing for her residents. Rickie has advocated locally & statewide bringing strong attention to the housing crisis as well as utility policy injustices through her ability to passionately present to Sacramento representatives, senators and legislators. Rickie fights for affordable housing and to abate power shut offs as she does not want any of her residents homeless or in the dark. SDHF is proud to have her represent us as a volunteer at our events every year, as she exemplifies what it means to be passionate, kind and hard-working. Congratulations Rickie on your 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award!
Tuesday, December 5
5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
The Lafayette Hotel
2223 El Cajon Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92104
Thank you for supporting SDHF in this past year. With your help, SDHF will continue to work to create more inspiring moments through advocating, informing, expanding the expertise, networking and building of coalitions throughout the region. Each contribution helps advance our mission of working as a coalition to promote the creation of quality affordable housing focused on lower income families and people in need.
The San Diego Housing Federation is once again participating in #GivingTuesday which will fall on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, a global day dedicated to giving. We encourage you to join the movement and visit www.givingtuesday.org to learn more about how you can make a difference.
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Please Donate Today!
This year, we are fortunate to have a match campaign courtesy of San Diego Interfaith Housing Foundation that will match every dollar donated up to $4,000.
All donations are tax deductible. Every dollar counts! Thank you for your support! We look forward to a great 2018!