Fund helps carpenter keep home after suffering 2 strokes

In March, Michael Peterson was a finish carpenter — a skilled artisan with a knack for designing intricate woodwork. In the past, he oversaw as many as six workers executing his plans. Now, in the middle of a work day, he sits at a slightly awkward distance from a visitor in the ballroom of the once-grand, 1920s-era hotel where he … Read More

Gift helps Pacifica woman keep home of nearly 50 years

Clarice Patterson answers her door in a bright red embroidered dress and red leggings. The interior of her small living room has been decorated top to bottom for the holidays, as festively as possible. Along the banister and above the window hang stockings for each of her 13 grandchildren, even though they are all adults now. Patterson has lived in … Read More

Season of Sharing keeps longtime Napa Valley resident in home

Napa Valley is not only beautiful; it’s also expensive. That’s no secret. But what’s less known is the difficulty seniors, many of them deeply rooted residents, are having surviving in the valley as rents soar. Larry Hyson, a 71-year-old Calistoga man, is among those struggling. A longtime chauffeur and transportation services worker, he lost his job and spent months trying … Read More

Ailing senior gets help with rent at new apartment in Benicia

Sandra Quiroz’s new apartment, in the Casa de Vilarrasa affordable senior housing complex in Benicia, is modest: Its walls are bone-white and beige, its shelves are strewn with family photographs, and its windows look out to a sun-dappled courtyard. But compared with the mobile home where Quiroz has lived for the past 15 years, it’s grand. “There are so many … Read More

Food banks feed Bay Area hungry all year

Unemployment is down and the economy is strong, but that doesn’t mean hunger has ebbed across the Bay Area. Local food banks have not seen any drop in demand for free groceries over the past few years, an indication that the incomes of the working poor aren’t keeping up with rising rents and other costs. “The outward appearance, especially in … Read More

Housing lottery winner claims prize with some payment help

Annie “Lonie” Battle, 73, is yet to finish emptying the moving boxes in her new Hayward home. But one of the first things she unpacked and situated since getting the keys a month ago are the pictures of her late husband, his big, brawny arms wrapped around her in nearly every shot. Since marrying 53 years ago, this holiday season … Read More

A little help lets single mom find a good job

For much of her life, Jill Townsend’s biggest focus was on herself, but her recovery from addiction has changed her attitude about who and what is most important in this world. Alcohol and drugs got her in trouble as a youth, ruined her marriage and might very well have destroyed her relationship with her three children had she not taken … Read More

Gift of a studio for engineer left homeless after 2 accidents

Larry Williams sat on a thick folded blanket on the floor of his studio apartment, back to the wall, an ancient-looking laptop perched on his thighs. It was the first time he’d turned on his laptop in years — it took two days just to update the software, he said with a chuckle. Until recently the laptop was stowed away … Read More

A year after getting help, Napa family counting its blessings

Watching 3-year-old Xavier Pequeño race around the house in a pair of Minions socks, one would never guess that he spent last Christmas in hospital isolation following a bone marrow transplant made necessary by a rare and deadly immunodeficiency condition. “I’m so fast!” he yelled as he zoomed across the living room of his family’s Napa home on Monday, drawing … Read More

When bad breaks pile up, paying the rent can be impossible

The first of the month has a way of coming around faster than any other day on the calendar, especially when it’s the day you’re supposed to slip a check beneath the landlord’s door. And when you have missed a few firsts of a few months, the landlords start slipping things under the door, too. Things like eviction notices. That’s … Read More