At just 18 years old, Janice – a Stockton resident – has experienced various living situations and faced a multitude of housing challenges. For eight years, Janice lived on a boat with her dad and stepmom. She shares with the Housing Justice Coalition that despite the calm of the delta, she was quite lonely. “There were small rooms and no other kids around.” But still, Janice enjoyed the experience because she had her family and a bunch of cats.
Despite their challenging relationship, Janice missed her mom and decided to move in with her. In their apartment, Janice had her own room, bathroom, internet, and basic necessities, but she was always filled with worry. They were nervous about being evicted and “her mom was always freaking out.”
While Janice enjoyed being with her mom, the amenities around her apartment complex were disastrous. Janice explains how the laundry machines in her unit were shut down after certain hours, hard to reach, and closed for use during the COVID-19 pandemic. Janice’s mom worked late nights, so doing laundry became impossible and it forced them to pay workers at a laundromat to do their laundry. Janice also shares that maintenance of the complex was horrible; the swimming pool was green and the garbage bins were overfilled and emitted a terrible odor. The staff of the apartment complex was hardly available and they only accepted money orders for rent, so Janice and her mom were always experiencing some type of stress.
She then moved with her dad into a warehouse, which ended up being worse. Janice lived without showers, internet, or friends. She found it difficult to attend school halfway across town. She worried about her dad’s unstable income and argued with her mom who had mental health issues. She expresses that “it was all very tough.”
Janice experienced many different living situations where she learned that a home is more than just a roof over your head. A home includes basic amenities like a shower, internet, and accessible laundry. A home enhances our mental and physical health. A home is where we gather with loved ones and friends. It is only with a quality standard of living that home can emerge.