Vikki Lozano - Resident of Atmosphere Apartments
Vikki Lozano and her husband are among the first residents to move into the newly constructed Atmosphere Apartments in Downtown, San Diego, developed by Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation. With ecstatic relief, Vikki says “It has been a life saver for us… now we can finally breathe! We feel more like we are on top of things again. It gives us hope that things will change for the better and that everything is going to be OK.”
For 25 years, Vikki and Ted Lozano lived comfortably as owners of four interior design and window covering retail stores in Sacramento, CA. They owned their own home and Vikki says, “we had a pretty good life. We were taking care of our disabled son and my parents. We were working 10 hours a day but we were living well.”
Everything changed with the collapse of the economy in 2008. They lost their business and their home. “We went from having a good life for 25 years to having nothing – we were basically homeless,” Vikki recounts. The stress of the situation escalated health issues for each of them. Vikki underwent heart surgery and battled skin cancer, forcing her to go on disability. Ted was already collecting social security when he developed Parkinson’s. The two who had once worked hard to care for their family from their surplus, were now in need of help from them. Their oldest son lived in San Diego and invited them to “come down and I’ll help you out.” He helped as much as he could while Vikki worked to overcome her personal health challenges and to care for her husband as his health began to change.
With significant health needs and a fixed income, the couple lived in a small Hillcrest apartment. Vikki describes the apartment as “not very nice,” with a monthly rent exceeding $2,000. The Lozanos had been on Affordable Housing waiting lists since they lost their home, nearly ten years ago – but there was never a vacancy for them, until Atmosphere started leasing.
Now as an Atmosphere resident, Vikki says, “Our apartment feels like a real home, and this is the first time in 10 years that I’ve been able to say that. This has been the light of our lives just being able to live in a nice, clean new building with a rent that we can afford.” Vikki was thrilled after paying their rent and realizing they have money left over to buy food. In addition to the affordability, she says, “We also like that it is safe here and the building has 24-hour security.” Their new affordable home has relieved a huge amount of stress. Because of the relief Vikki reports, “My friends say they’ve noticed how my outlook on things has changed. I’m happy again.” She has seen the relief in the way the two spend their evenings, “Last night, my husband and I were able to just sit down together and watch TV and relax. We haven’t been able to do that for a while.” As the two contend with on-going health needs, they are finally feeling hopeful.