When Sarah Jones lost her job and any chance at child support in one of the most expensive housing markets in the United States, the mother of four had a difficult decision to make: remove her kids from the community and schools they’d grown up in, or spend hours a day in traffic commuting back and forth.

She chose the latter, never giving up in her pursuit to find affordable housing in Orange County. “I searched for months, did my homework, and I couldn’t find anything,” Sarah says. “Everyone knows how hard I’ve been trying to get back here, but Orange County and Southern California are very, very expensive.”

Her fortunes – and life – changed when Sarah heard about Oakcrest Terrace, a beautiful apartment community in the Savi Ranch neighborhood of Yorba Linda. The rent for a three-bedroom apartment was $1,275 per month – roughly half the average for a similar-sized unit in Orange County.

The community built by National CORE offers an affordable housing option to the local workforce, veterans, families and seniors combined with social service programs that support the needs of the residents. “My kids and I have been blessed,” Sarah says. “When we found out we could get in, I told them, ‘I don’t care what you’ve got, give me anything.’”

Sarah, who helps operate a day care facility, said the proximity to the 91 Freeway reduces her commute to work, which helps her spend more time volunteering at her kids’ activities, such as Pop Warner Football. “It’s so important to them,” she says. “Taking them out of these programs or the schools they grew up in would have been very difficult.”

As for her living space, she had checked into other “affordable” housing communities, but they were either too expensive, unkempt or both. “I’ve got a brand new unit. The flooring is great. Again, we just feel so fortunate.”

Ciriaco “Cid” Pinedo, President of the Hope through Housing Foundation, which partners with National CORE to provide supportive service, says stories such as Sarah’s show how unfortunate the stereotypes are of individuals and families who live in affordable housing.

“We’ve all needed help at one point or another in our lives,” Pinedo says. “In Sarah’s case, she is a hard-working, extremely dedicated mother who wants what is best for her children. We feel privileged to do our part to help her and other families thrive.”