Meet Darnell. He’s a single father of two – a son (Darnell Jr., age 6) and a daughter (A’rya, age 4). Sadly, at the height of the pandemic, Darnell lost his job in the Bay Area (one of the most expensive areas to live in the U.S.) due to COVID-19 and had to relocate to Sacramento. Once Darnell and his kids settled into their new hometown it was hard for Darnell to find work.
We spoke to Darnell recently about his initial experiences at The Creek apartment community in Sacramento and his discovery of the resources provided there by Project Access.
Darnell, how were you introduced to the services and support provided by Project Access?
I bumped into Moe (Resident Coordinator) in the parking lot and found out about the Project Access programs. I started to see Moe at different events and the more I learned and getting to know Moe, the more I started to take advantage of the services at Project Access.
First, I started utilizing employment assistance classes where we worked on resume building and mock job interviews. I can say if it wasn’t for Moe and Project Access, it would have been much harder for me to get by. He helped me apply for, and begin to receive, unemployment; he helped me look for jobs, he proofread my resume, and helped me practice for interviews. He even helped me get rental assistance through the SERA program when I had a 15-day notice on my door.
Tell us what you think about Project Access at The Creek?
I think it’s been really helpful… I’ve gotten help with rental assistance during COVID. Moe has additional resources and he’s guided me on who to talk and who not to talk to. It’s been very helpful getting necessities like soap, cleaning supplies, deodorant and lots of other things.
Moe is a friend to the residents here. He’s like a big brother who cares for us and looks out for us. I’ve lived other places and I’ve never had services like Project Access before.
You and your kids have come to several of our family events. How would you describe that experience?
Great! Project Access events give kids something to do, especially when there isn’t much of anything for them to do during COVID. They’re missing the interaction from school, so it was really nice to have projects for the kids during holidays.
I’ve gotten a lot of help from Project Access – from small things like books for my kids to read, to big, important things like information on how to keep a roof over our head. There are so many things I’ve gotten help with that if I had to tell you everything, we could be here all day!
How have you and your family been impacted by the Coronavirus?
COVID changed a lot for us. I lost my job and had to move my kids from their home. With the kids not in school anymore, I had to help them learn and take classes online. It’s had a real effect financially, emotionally, and physically.
How often do you use Project Access?
The time varies based on what I need. I know I get help about once a week, even if it’s just getting a question answered.