For more than three years, Sadaia, 25, and her partner searched for a safe and stable home – a dream that launched a chaotic trek across the country, found her living out of motels, short-term rentals and, when resources ran dry, in her car.
“It’s been three years of consistent survival mode,” Sadaia said. “We had to pack up almost every day, knowing we had to wake up in a car, had to brush our teeth with a bottle of water or leftover McDonald’s water, just to make it to work that next day. We had long, anxious days.
“We would donate plasma and deliver food and just go all day so we could get a good night’s sleep or even shower. We were not safe at all. We were not comfortable; we were not secure. Finding resources was very hard and food was especially hard to come by.”
Along the way, she became pregnant, which made their search all the more important.
“As unhoused parents we experienced fear about reaching out for help because we don’t know what will happen. We feared judgment and the possibility of our child being taken away because someone doesn’t like our circumstances and won’t help.”
In February, the family found temporary shelter at a Glendale transitional living program. Then, in August, they were accepted at 456 West, a 91-home community developed by National CORE and Linc Housing in the heart of San Pedro.
“When we got the call about 456 West, we couldn’t believe it. We thought that we were getting scammed. But at that point, it didn’t matter. We couldn’t pass up the the possibility of getting an apartment. It was all very surreal,” she said.
It became real when she stepped foot into her new home, a two-bedroom apartment, in September.
“We are housed now, thank God, National CORE and Linc Housing,” she said.
Sadaia said that finally having her own home is strange after spending so much time in short-term rentals. She still awakes with the fear she will need to leave. When she has a glass of water, she still immediately cleans and replaces the glass – a habit picked up on the road.
Slowly, though, she is beginning to relax into the stability of her new home.
The 456 West playground is part of her daily routine with her son, as they explore the amenities offered by the development. Even small conveniences, like the onsite laundry room, have a dramatic impact.
Sadaia also enjoys the location of the apartment, which allows her to walk to the port. With a safe and stable home to return to each day, she is now looking for a job so she can build stronger resources for her family.
“This apartment, for my son and my family, means new beginnings, safety, security. It means another chance at life. Now we don’t have to pack up before checkout time,” she said. “My son can take a bath – because you can’t do that in a shelter. This community is a great place for my baby to grow up. He can finally start to enjoy his childhood. 456 is our new home.”