A message from Rita Mancera, Executive Director, Puente.
I think about Posada even when it is not the holiday season because, at Puente, I often get to see the difference that generosity makes in the lives of people. Those tender moments illuminate my day and energize me to continue my own journey with Puente and my South Coast neighbors. The Posada starts with the need for shelter and culminates with the generosity of the person who decides to provide it. There is always someone in our community who needs this safety net of support to make ends meet, to overcome depression, to pay their way to college, to get a better paid job.
Not long ago, a local family was evicted from their home of 12 years. Although they were given appropriate notice and an extension, the day came when they needed to leave and they had still not found a new home. This family of five could not find a place that would host them all. When I talked to one of the parents I learned they had already been using 80% of their income to pay their monthly rent. Other housing options were even more expensive and not anything they could afford.
In searching for a home for this family, I eventually came across a farm that was upgrading a small trailer, but the owner would only take four people. The trailer had just one large bedroom. I decided to present the option to the parents. I figured they could somehow coordinate with a relative to provide housing for the older son. With pride, the parents told me that was not an option. “We need to stay together,” said the father, and I felt immense love for his conviction.
I really wish I could tell you they found a place, but they did not. With no success, my colleagues and I made several phone calls to other farms and other neighbors we thought might have a vacancy. With financial support provided by Puente, the family stayed in various hotels for a few days but that option was not sustainable for Puente or for them. Their journey took them to their sister, where the children now stay in the home and the parents now live out of their car.
I know our county will work on housing solutions. I know Puente will stay involved to support housing initiatives and will lead when necessary, but change is not coming fast enough.
We have not forgotten that this family needs our support, and that is why I chose to write about them. I thought maybe this Posada message could provide light to them once and for all. I have faith that a generous soul will reach out to provide them with shelter. As we think about the cold season coming up, perhaps we will look at places we haven’t yet looked and ask people we haven’t yet asked. This is why I think about Posada even when it is not holiday time.
Join us this Friday, December 16, for the Community Posada. The Live Nativity procession will start at 5:30 PM at Pescadero Community Church, 363 Stage Road, followed by a program in St. Anthony Church and Pescadero Elementary School multipurpose room.
In this holiday season, we are so grateful for you and your many generous gifts that will provide both comfort and delight for children and adults in our community. Your faith and support makes the impossible, possible.