Vanessa Torres: Resident at Villa Del Sol
Vanessa is a farm worker who has lived at Villa Del Sol Apartments in Calexico, California for three years. She has one son who is thirteen and she is a single mother.
Vanessa has been working in the fields in the Imperial Valley and in Arizona for ten years. When she first started working in the fields she lived in Mexicali, Mexico and it was a hardship for her to cross the border everyday to go to work. She also faced difficulties living in Mexico and being a single mother trying to raise her son without any help from either the government of Mexico or from her son's father. Vanessa says she was scared every time she had to cross the border that she would have bad luck and be robbed and or she would be detained and she would not be able to go to work (even though she has a Permanent Resident Card).
When Vanessa and her son were finally able to move to the United States she says it was very hard for her because she did not speak English and she was not accustomed to a country so different from her native one. She also came to realize very quickly that living in California is very expensive and more so on the salary that a farm worker makes in a year; farm workers generally only work part of the year when vegetables are being harvested. Those farm workers that wish to work all year long must travel great distances in order to find work in different states or in different parts of California.
Vanessa was extremely happy when she was approved for Affordable Housing in Calexico. She now has a permanent address in the United States and that makes it possible for her son to attend school here and for the family to receive help from the state in the form of food stamps and after school programs for low-income children of migrant/farm workers. Vanessa says that Affordable Housing has made it so that she can live very well with her son in an apartment that is both economical and very comfortable. Having a permanent home in the United States has given her son the opportunity to learn English which she says will help him in the future. Vanessa says giving her son the chance to obtain an education that will take him farther than a job working in the fields has made all the difference in the world to her.