Lending a Hand During the Pandemic

Many Mercy Housing residents were able to breathe a little bit easier thanks to the emergency rental assistance program. Mercy Housing’s Gleason Park Apartments resident, Katrina, was among them. 


Katrina moved into Gleason Park in Stockton, CA with her husband, Anthony, and their two young daughters in 2019. Prior to moving into their new home, the family had experienced homelessness. “We were so down and looking for a place to live. We took busses and walked everywhere. We had to get our kids to school and stuff,” the couple explained. “When we received the call from Mercy Housing, it was a miracle. We believe they were put in our lives for a reason.” 

With a place to call home, Katrina’s family was starting to settle in when COVID-19 took hold. Katrina was not only the first in her family to test positive but the first person at Gleason Park as well. “It was rough,” she said. “The scary, unknown, and not knowing who’s going to get it [COVID-19] like you.” As the only member of the household working at the time, the family depended on her paycheck for income. 


Overwhelmed by the changing CDC guidelines and the uncertainty of if, or when, she would be able to return to work, Katrina turned to her resident services manager, Liz, for help. “Everyone was still coming to terms with the virus; confusion and the worry about paying rent was mounting,” said Liz. 

Castilla Family Photo_KO_DOODLE.png

“We couldn’t be happier right now. Mercy Housing gave us so much love. I really want to pay it foward.”


— Katrina and Anthony,
Mercy Housing Residents


The couple credits Liz with supporting their family through the pandemic by providing safety protocols and stable housing by accessing rent relief during a time of uncertainty. 

Not only was there emergency state and local rental assistance available to qualifying families, but some residents also had access to additional relief, thanks to an anonymous donor in California who provided a gift of $1 million specifically to help with rent relief.  

“Like everything else, there was a process each time,” Anthony explained. “But Liz was on it. We really trusted her.”

Katrina and Anthony were the first Gleason Park residents to fill out the application and receive approval. The financial assistance covered a full three months of rent, giving their family peace of mind while Katrina recovered at home. 

“Katrina is really special and resilient,” said Liz. “Katrina’s story and my story have a lot of parallels. We both walked very difficult lives, and I think that’s what helped us bond. It’s kind of like, if I can do it, you can do it.”

Things are looking up today for Katrina and Anthony. Their daughters are back in school, Anthony recently found a job, and Katrina is back at work. The family now has its sight set on owning their own home. 

“We couldn’t be happier right now,” Katrina said. 

“Mercy Housing gave us so much love,” Anthony added. “I really want to pay it forward.”


We have been committed to keeping residents in their homes during the pandemic.


Donors gave $1.4 million for rent relief in 2021, while staff helped residents access over $4.5 million in state and local emergency rental assistance.