At 64, Maggie found herself at her lowest point. Following a physical altercation with her sister’s boyfriend, she not only landed in the emergency room, but also lost the security of her family home, leaving her and her son without a safe place to reside.

Over the next year, Maggie struggled to get by, relying on her meager savings, a monthly Social Security income of $600 and the kindness of friends and family to prevent her from slipping into homelessness.

“My family was splintered,” she said. “I wasn’t living on the streets, but I was still homeless. That was the gutter for me.”

At one point, Maggie was living in a hotel with her 44-year-old son, who suffered from muscular dystrophy. As his disease progressed, Michael lost his vision, became wheelchair bound and required a tracheotomy tube to breathe. Because of the severity of his symptoms, Maggie had to make the heart-wrenching decision to entrust his care to an assisted living facility in Garden Grove, leaving her alone and inconsolable.

It was only a few months later when she was attacked at her hotel by a neighbor’s dog, sending her back to the ER for multiple bite wounds. With the stress of the past year catching up to Maggie, she started experiencing a rapid heartbeat and trembling.

“I was getting sick from the constant stress and isolating myself and it made me have bad thoughts,” Maggie said. “I was so lonely. My son is my best friend, and it was very hard when he had to go to that facility. I was absolutely destroyed.”

Many years before her recent struggles, Maggie, a CalOptima Health member, lived a thoughtful and peaceful life in Orange County. But when her son’s debilitating illness started to take hold in 2003, he and Maggie moved into her family home, and she became his full-time caretaker.

After leaving her family home in 2023, her son and a friend spent hours scouring the internet trying to find Maggie a home. Months later, they came across a brand-new affordable housing community in Placentia called Santa Angelina. It gave Maggie hope.

Santa Angelina is a beautiful community for seniors ages 62 and better who earn less than 60% of the area median income and the result of a partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

Maggie moved into her new home on May 1, a sanctuary that offers her a fresh start. Maggie is optimistic about the future. Her hope is to reconnect with estranged family members and is ecstatic to be able to live closer to her beloved son. She said her days of being alone are over and she is enjoying getting to know her neighbors.

Maggie is also happy she can bring her dog – who had been staying with friends for the last year – to her new home. She said she cannot wait to participate in the onsite resident programs and services at Santa Angelina and start the process of rebuilding her life.

“My life is turning around,” she said. “I like that the Santa Angelina area has space to walk around with my dog and to be out and about to meet with other people. I’m still a little reserved but getting out there and being with others is a first step forward.”