OXNARD, Calif. – Recently, Daniel Core and his two young children, with support from the County of Ventura Human Services Agency, moved into their own apartment after living out of his truck for three months.
The Core family is one of some 90 families assisted by the Human Services Agency’s CalWORKs Housing Support Program over the past year. The program ensures housing stability for eligible families as they work to secure and maintain steady employment.
Mr. Core, an Oxnard native, moved practically overnight to Cleveland to gain full custody of his two children, Nicky, now five years old, and David, now seven. Once reunited with his children, Mr. Core moved the family back to Ventura County to be close to relatives and friends, and live in the place he truly considers home.
His homecoming, however, was not easy. Even as an experienced United Association Union plumber, work in the area was hard to secure. Several times he found employment only to be laid off when the company downsized. Meanwhile, the Core family was sleeping on the floor of his frail mother’s small home already shared with another relative.
Always leaning on his faith that “God had a plan for us,” Mr. Core eventually accepted an offer to live with other relatives. After a short time under extremely difficult living circumstances, however, he chose to move his children and himself into his truck rather than stay in the house.
The family’s situation created hardships for Nicky and David in attending school, and Mr. Core remained caught in a loop of hardship. He needed a regular paycheck to afford housing and child care, but without housing and child care, he could not safely leave his young children to find work. Even with public assistance benefits, basic living expenses were overwhelming and housing particularly out of reach.
Exhausted by numerous attempts to get housing support through various agencies, Mr. Core attended a workshop on homelessness advertised on the radio. There he stood up and told a room full of people his story, emphasizing the lack of resources for fathers with small children.
Soon after, Anna Chavez, a Homeless Services social worker with the Human Services Agency, reached out to Mr. Core. Determined to move the family into permanent housing, Anna secured funding to pay for a motel so they could rest in safe shelter. At the same time, she worked with local landlords to create an affordable housing option that Mr. Core could maintain on his own.
Now in a one-bedroom apartment, Mr. Core says things are “by far, 100% better” and credits Anna as the “most helpful” part of his experience with the Agency. Without her, he says he would not be able to work at his new full-time job in his trained profession, arrange subsidized child care with someone he trusts, or live in their new home.
Anna’s expert utilization of resources available through the Human Services Agency’s CalWORKs Housing Support Program gave the Core family a new start made that much better by providing a place of their own to call home. Moreover, a chance meeting with someone from a local Seventh-day Adventist Church led to a full tuition scholarship for both Nicky and David to attend the church’s private school.
Mr. Core states that he still feels the stress of balancing a demanding job, a tight household budget, and a constant need for hard-to-find affordable child care. But, with the undeniably positive change in the family’s living circumstances, Mr. Core’s outlook has brightened.
His greatest motivation remains his children. “They’re my life,” says Mr. Core. “My biggest thing is just trying to raise them right – become somebody someday and give them opportunities.”
To learn more about the CalWORKs Housing Support Program, click here.