“Since I was 15 years old, it’s just been a rollercoaster for me. I started hanging out with the wrong people unfortunately, and got into the wrong stuff. “

That was then. This is now: 

“I’m so excited to back to life. I plan on going back to work and putting my kids in a good, safe daycare. I want to be one, big, happy family.”

Annette, 26, is now focused on two things: her family and her future medical career.

This self-assured and focused single mother of two children is grateful to her relatives and friends for having her back and supporting her.  But, she also credits Mercy Housing for bringing her to this turning point where she is living in hope for a happy and secure future.

For the last six years, Annette has lived at Mercy Housing’s Holly Park affordable housing community in Commerce City.

Aside from her newly remodeled apartment, Annette is grateful for the many other services Mercy Housing offers to help residents.

“Whenever I go in the offices and I need anything, it doesn’t matter what I’ve asked for, they’ll help me,” Annette says. “They have a food bank here. There was a backpack giveaway for the kids. There are all sorts of activities for the kids. For adults, they have nutrition classes and healthy cooking classes. We have a financial stability class. There is a resume class or they have someone who comes in and helps to build resumes, helps you apply for jobs and apply for school.”

Annette did just that. She applied to go back to school and is enrolling in classes to become an phlebotomist. Her ultimate goal is to become a nurse.

“She’s creating the plan for her life now and we’re just there to guide her,”  Holly Park Resident Services Coordinator Dwayne Meeks says.  “We’re not telling her what she needs. She’s getting what she needs for her and her family.”

Dwayne says he sees other parents rediscover their confidence when working with his Resident Services office and getting access to programs that will help them become self-reliant.

Holly Park is home to 500 people, including 200 children.  Mercy Housing just finished a massive renovation of each of the 168 apartments, adding air conditioning, dishwashers, new windows and safety and accessibility upgrades.

The safety features are very important to Annette who earlier in 2018 was robbed at gunpoint with her children nearby. Her rent money was stolen.  Mercy Housing and the Resident Services team at Holly Park  comforted Annette and supported her. One of the ways Mercy Housing helped Annette feel more secure was by offering her family a top floor apartment, one of the first to undergo renovation.

“This new apartment helped me to build that strength to say .. ‘hey, I’m gonna get back out there.’ It was hard to overcome what happened to me but I did.  The staff at Holly Park is determined to make sure that everyone around here has what they need and what they deserve. They’re just amazing people.”

Mercy Housing is one of the nation’s largest affordable housing organizations. It focuses on creating stable, vibrant and healthy affordable housing communities for single adults, families, senior citizens, veterans and people with special needs. The goal of Mercy Housing is to help people develop their full potential by providing a safe home they can afford.

Since 1993, Mercy Housing has provided affordable homes in Colorado to nearly 3,000 low-income individuals and families. These communities are in every corner of the state, from Durango to Fort Collins. The Resident Services are free to residents of the Mercy Housing communities.

“With our residents, like Annette, that switch comes on,” Dwayne says. “That’s what drives me to get up every morning to come in here and say ‘we’re going to change somebody’s life today. Somebody’s going to get it.'”

To learn more about Mercy Housing, check out the previous stories I’ve shared here on my Kyle Dyer Storytelling.