Thirty years ago, Mysie and her late husband moved their family into a quaint three-bedroom home in San Mateo with just a $50 security deposit. The house eventually saw four generations, including Mysie’s great-grandson Darius, whom she gained full custody of in 2008. Though the retired great-grandmother and breast cancer survivor had to return to the workforce to help support Darius, she was relieved to be in a house so well-suited for raising children. Then, on Valentine’s Day of 2014, Mysie received some heartwrenching news: her beloved house was being sold, and she and Darius, now 8 years old, had sixty days to find a new home.
Not only was she devastated to leave a place with so many memories, but Mysie knew that housing options within her budget were few and far between. She began calling as many apartment complexes as possible, but her desperation grew as she was added to waiting list after waiting list.
The very first callback she received was from a senior complex that – miraculously — allowed children, and Mysie didn’t want to let the opportunity slip away. She quickly scraped together $300 towards the security deposit to hold the unit, but wasn’t sure how she’d cover the remaining move-in costs. With a rent increase of nearly $500 looming, there was going to be no financial wiggle room in the coming months. With Darius in mind, she sought support through a San Mateo nonprofit. A staff member helped her apply for a grant through HIF, and after being awarded $1,000 towards first month’s rent, Mysie and Darius packed up the few things they could squeeze into their new unit and made the move.
The great-grandmother and shy 8-year-old have since settled into their tidy apartment; the walls are already adorned with Darius’ paintings of ice cream sundaes. Though the downsize has taken some adjustment, Mysie knows how lucky they are to have found an apartment they can afford, as well as a nonprofit like HIF that was willing to help make the transition possible.