Success Stories

Charoon worked at a Thai video store until chronic health problems forced him to quit. Faced with devastating financial problems, Charoon, his wife, Prapha, and their son, Golf, were forced to move. Fortunately, HCHC was there and offered them housing they could afford on Prapha’s waitress salary. Now Golf walks the two blocks to school every morning with his father. After 10 years of attending ESL classes at a crowded adult school, Charoon had become frustrated his lack of improvement and finally quit. But after just one year of HCHC’s ESL classes, his English improved from basic beginner’s level to strong pre-intermediate. Kim Gunby, HCHC’s ESL teacher, said, “Charoon is so committed to learning English that he received two awards in his first year: Most Improved and Most Classes Attended at the Most Buildings. He always comes in with a big smile on his face and plenty of energy and enthusiasm to learn. He’s one of my all time favorite students.” Besides attending ESL classes, Charoon receives case management services from HCHC’s Resident Services Coordinators and legal and translation assistance from the Asian-Pacific American Legal Center. Since living at the Argyle Apartments, Charoon’s health has improved, the family’s finances have stabilized, and Golf is getting a good education. When asked what Charoon’s hope was for the future, he replied “I want Golf to grow healthy, get an education, find good work and be happy. I made only $200 a month in Thailand. Here Golf can have a much better life and has many more choices.

Ed and Avelina left the extreme poverty of the Philippines in the 1970’s to find a better life. In Los Angeles, Ed found work with a martial arts magazine publisher, and later, with a telecommunications company. Avelina, a pretty woman with a ready smile, works in business services for Good Samaritan Hospital. They raised three daughters, the second is a nurse, while the youngest works in Human Relations for the City of Los Angeles. When their oldest daughter got mixed up with drugs and had to spend time in jail, Ed and Avelina took her three children to live with them. Their tiny apartment was close to Avelina’s work, but the neighborhood wasn’t safe. Once Ed was walking down the street and two men pulled a gun on him. Afraid to let their grandchildren outside, Ed and Avelina were hopeful when they heard of HCHC, and thrilled when their application for affordable housing was accepted.

“When I first saw this apartment I was surprised that even limited income people can reside in such a fine dwelling space,” said Ed. “Now my grandchildren can play securely on the playground here.”
Since moving in, Ed and Avelina have taken in a fourth grandchild, but with three bedrooms and two baths, they no longer feel squeezed. Ed, who stays home to take care of the children, said “We are no longer knocking on the bathroom door yelling at the one inside to hurry up because we have another bathroom available here.”

Paul C. taught ESL at Los Angeles City College until illness forced him to give up his job and, eventually, his home. Struggling with severe depression, Paul spent a year couch-surfing, sometimes sleeping in his car. After finding a home at HCHC’s St. Andrew’s Bungalow Courtyard, Paul turned his life around. He participated in every life skills course we offered, as well as individual and supportive group therapy. He reached out to other HCHC residents, hosting support groups in his home. He offered to volunteer for HCHC’s Distant Learning program as an ESL instructor. In that role, Paul has provided many people with strong support and English education that they may not have received otherwise. Paul’s positive attitude is infectious, and his outlook on life inspiring.

“Hollywood Housing has given me so much,” he says. “I feel fortunate to be able to give something back.”