Morgan Hill, CA, August 2019 – In 2018, a young graduate student named Christian needed affordable housing in Santa Clara County but was coming up empty. He had a job and a family — a wife and two children — and had been recently accepted to JFK University in San Jose to pursue a master’s degree in counseling psychology. Desperate after a fruitless months-long housing search he even researched “safe” parking lots where homeless people are allowed to sleep in their vehicles.
Christian, 30, knew what car life was like. A decade ago he lived in his car for about three months; he didn’t want that for his young family. Fortunately, in January 2019, Christian found a home in a two-bedroom apartment at Orchard Ranch, a newly-built EAH Housing community in Morgan Hill, Calif. “Orchard Ranch has been great,” he says. “It’s been an awesome experience.”
Christian and his wife, Sabrina, had recently moved from Southern California, planning to live in Morgan Hill with her mother. But when Sabrina’s mother moved out of town, they were stuck. “I was looking for a place in Morgan Hill, but it was so expensive,” says Christian. “I wasn’t finding anything we could afford.”
Then fate smiled on them. Sabrina saw a sign advertising a new apartment community for people with low incomes — Orchard Ranch. As soon as they learned when applications would first be accepted, Christian jumped into action.
Christian got off work at midnight from his job in Los Gatos as a caregiver for people with Alzheimer’s disease and drove the 25 miles to Morgan Hill. He spent the night waiting outside the EAH Housing office until it opened. “When I got there, no one else was there,” he says. “I was first in line to get and complete an application.”
These days Christian is busy. While his wife, pregnant with their third child, looks after their 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter, he continues working part-time as a caregiver while also regularly driving the 150-mile roundtrip to Pleasant Hill for classes at JFK University.
Christian, who received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Long Beach State University, says he feels “called” to become a psychotherapist, specifically for underserved communities. “I would like to be there for people going through trouble, to be of service to them,” he says. “I saw the need in my own extended family while I was growing up.”
He also sees the need for more low income housing. “Even people who have jobs can’t afford the high rents,” says Christian. “I think that’s one of the reasons safe parking lots now have waiting lists. Something needs to be done. It’s families, it’s kids, it’s working people. Orchard Ranch has been a blessing and given me and my family a place to call home. Organizations like EAH Housing are crucial for individuals and families in great need. I cannot over emphasize how grateful I am for their help.”