“We came to San Francisco exactly a year ago today,” says Clara Herrera, and what a year it’s been for Clara and her family.
After making the dangerous trek from Guatemala through Mexico to seek asylum in the United States, Clara, her husband and 5-year-old daughter Beverly moved in with family living in San Francisco, but it wasn’t long before the landlord found out and threatened them with eviction. That’s when Clara came to HPP. She says, “HPP gave me a big helping hand from the beginning. My case manager worked with Compass [Family Services] to help us get what we needed, and after Compass approved us for subsidized housing, HPP case managers would help me look for apartments and fill out applications every week.”
While she searched for housing, Clara discovered she was pregnant. She wanted the baby, but because she hadn’t yet secured housing, she was worried. “My case manager Vanessa gave me a lot of emotional support. She said the baby could be a blessing for my life and that HPP would help as much as it could.”
Clara soon found housing. Then came COVID-19. Like tens of millions of people across the US, her husband has been out of work since March, but as asylum-seekers, Clara’s family doesn’t qualify for most safety net benefits offered to unemployed Americans. However, HPP has been committed to making sure families like Clara’s don’t fall through the cracks. “What’s helped me a lot,” she says, “are the food cards provided by HPP. The weekly food bags also help a lot. Thanks to all of this we have been able to eat.”
Clara plans on staying in San Francisco and hopes to go back to school to learn English. With her baby almost due, she is hopeful for the future. “They told me it’s a girl,” she says. “And HPP gifted me a really nice stroller, a crib, diaper bag, diapers, wipes. The truth is I’m really appreciative of HPP.”