“We thank God for this place.”
Luigi will never forget the day he decided to change his life. “I was in a gang and, while I was eating at a taco stand, I got shot because of gang violence,” he says.
He and his fiancée, Vanessa, had grown up in that violent neighborhood and made a home for themselves and their daughter. But Luigi’s brush with death brought him to a moment of clarity. He wanted nothing more to do with gangs. He wanted only to protect and provide for his family, so they moved away.
“We had a two-bedroom home. Luigi was working. Life was good,” Vanessa says.
Then, all at once, their world came crashing down around them. Luigi developed complications from his gunshot wound, so he couldn’t work. And Vanessa’s disability payments for her type 1 diabetes stopped without warning. The family lost their home and wound up living in their car. “I couldn’t sleep from worrying about how we were going to feed our daughter,” Vanessa says.
“Seeing tears in my fiancée’s and my daughter’s eyes hurt so much,” Luigi adds. “I prayed, ‘Please, God, put us on the right path.’”
It was then, at a friend’s suggestion, that the family came to our Casa de Vida, where they found safe shelter and compassionate, supportive staff. “They make you feel at home. It was such a relief to be here,” Luigi says.
“Casa de Vida was an answer to our prayers.”
Luigi’s now on the mend and looking for work, and Vanessa is resolving the complications with her benefits. When they’ve saved enough money, they plan to get their own place. “They’re giving us everything we need to help our family move forward,” Vanessa says. “We thank God for this place.”
Thanks to the blessing of your support, Luigi, Vanessa and their daughter are celebrating Easter with new hope for the future. “Casa de Vida helps families that are broken down and don’t know what to do,” Luigi says. “They changed our lives.”