Anabel Rosas - Resident at Del Sol Community Housing

 
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Moving into an affordable home 11 years ago was just the beginning of many successes for Anabel Rosas, a resident at Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation’s Del Sol community. Anabel credits Creating Opportunities for Resident Enrichment (CORE), a specialized division of Wakeland’s onsite resident services program, for helping her achieve her personal and professional dreams.

But the future didn’t always look so bright. Before moving to Del Sol, Anabel and her family lived in an overcrowded and uncomfortable place – a single 8-foot-square room in a mobile home owned by relatives. The room was so small that sometimes her husband couldn’t stay with her and their three children, who ranged in age from 2 to 6 years old. There was no place for the kids to do homework or play, so Anabel brought them to a nearby park and library where they would stay all day.

“I did not feel safe there or at the park where I spent a lot of time with the kids, but I managed,” she says, noting that the whole situation made her feel little hope for their future.

Even mealtimes were a stressful affair because she had to share the kitchen with the other family.

“I could only cook when the stove was not being used, and I had to make sure they were quick meals,” Anabel says. As a result, she often had to prepare packaged foods or instant noodles instead of the nutritious meals her family was accustomed to.

Looking for a solution, Anabel learned about the Section 8 housing program and was encouraged to apply for a home at Del Sol, which primarily serves larger households. Once she and her family moved to Del Sol, in her words, “our lives completely turned around.” Her children had their own space to grow and play, she could cook healthy meals again, and the family had a permanent address that allowed them to enroll the kids in the local elementary school.

As soon as she moved in, Anabel began exploring the many resident services offered by CORE – attending ESL classes, pursuing her GED and ultimately earning her early childhood development certificate so she could achieve her goal of working with children. CORE staff helped Anabel with her resume and also encouraged her to think beyond the limits she had set for herself. For instance, after finishing her resume, she initially sought work as a house cleaner since that was how she had always made a living. But the CORE staff urged Anabel to think bigger.

“We told her, ‘Follow your dream and apply for a job working with kids – you’re qualified for it now,’” says Angelica Muñoz, CORE Program Manager. Now Anabel is a teacher’s assistant at a local daycare, and she has her sights set on becoming an elementary school teacher’s aide.

Beyond the professional skills that she has developed at Del Sol, Anabel has also pursued financial literacy education, participating in saving match programs and classes offered through the CORE program and U.S. Bank. With this knowledge under her belt, she has formed a monthly savings habit that helped her eliminate debt and create a growing nest egg. Her ultimate goal? Buying a house.

“I want to make room for another family at Del Sol so that they can benefit,” Anabel says.

With all that she’s accomplished, Anabel says perhaps the biggest reward is seeing how her actions have affected her children.

“My kids really respect me and look to me as a role model because they watched me make these changes in our lives."