San Bernardino, Calif. – Shevon Johnson is determined to become a homeowner – to fulfill the American Dream that once seemed so far out of reach for the married mother of three who has spent much of her life in subsidized housing.
Her new apartment home at Olive Meadow – part of the Arrowhead Grove Neighborhood Revitalization – puts her one step closer.
“It’s not just the roof over our heads. It’s everything else (Arrowhead Grove) has to offer. Access to computers and financial training. They want you to actually be a homeowner, to keep a job, to manage your credit,” Johnson says. “This is a stepping stone for greatness and a better life.”
Johnson, 32, had been living in the former Waterman Gardens apartments since 2011 and was among the first eligible to move into Olive Meadow as part of revitalization of the 74-year-old public housing development.
“You walk through here and it’s an entirely different feeling,” Johnson says of the new apartments. “I feel safe. I feel secure. I’m very happy.”
She hopes the Arrowhead Grove revitalization will begin to change the stereotypes of affordable housing and the residents who live there.
“Not everyone in low-income housing is on SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or welfare,” Johnson says. “People here go to work. My husband and I are building our credit so that we can purchase our first home.”
Their new environment also provides valuable life lessons for her children.
“By setting the example, my children are learning that if you want a better life, you have to work for it,” Johnson says. “It’s important that I teach them the right way of life.”
Part of that lesson is to accept the right kind of help “without going around thinking people owe you stuff.”
She points to the services provided at Arrowhead Grove that empower residents with the tools they need to move toward financial independence, homeownership and a better quality of life.