March 2018, Union City, California – Once, Trinese was married, with two daughters and a job as an Alameda County child care services coordinator. Her future looked bright, but a series of setbacks derailed her life. Her marriage ended. Her apartment building was converted to condominiums with prices she couldn’t afford, forcing her to move. And she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
MS has impaired Trinese’s mobility and memory, taking away her ability to work. But in spite of that, she and her daughters are now thriving at Los Robles, an EAH Housing community in Union City, Calif. “Moving to Los Robles has worked out wonderfully,” said Trinese. “It’s a nice family environment here. We were meant to be here, I fell in love with the people.”
And the people of Los Robles loved her back. Eight years ago, Trinese was invited to join the Los Robles board of directors. She’s now one of four residents on the 10-member board, and has served as board director, secretary, treasurer and president.
Trinese’s eldest daughter is following in her mother’s professional footsteps. Arianna, 23, is an EAH Housing Rebecca W. Watkin Scholarship winner who recently graduated from San Jose State University. She received a B.A. in psychology with a minor in child development.
Arianna was inspired to become a psychologist after watching a documentary in a high school psychology class about children misdiagnosed with ADHD. The class’s teacher became a key mentor, writing her several recommendation letters.
“I’ve always seen my mom put others first,” she said. “I knew I wanted to help people.” Today, with B.A. in hand, she has applied to two nearby graduate schools to earn a master’s degree in marriage, family and child counseling.
At Los Robles, Arianna and her younger sister, Ashlee quickly felt at home. As young children, says Arianna, they spent many summer nights playing with other Los Robles children on the lawn just outside their front door.
Those memories are still important to Trinese and her family, a reminder of how well EAH Housing does what she calls “building bridges between communities and families.”
But what has been essential to Trinese’s family is the foundation provided by affordable low-income housing. “Having multiple sclerosis has made life more challenging in many ways, especially financially,” she said. “You only have a certain income and everything has to fit inside of that. It’s really helpful for us to be living in an affordable property like Los Robles.”