When Gilma Merino emigrated from El Salvador to the United States as a child, it was hard for her family to find stable housing. After years of bouncing from apartment to apartment, struggling in school, and experiencing domestic violence, Gilma found stability at Jubilee Housing.
“I came to the right place at the right time,” Gilma said. “Jubilee is a strong community that supported me and my daughter Chrystal when I was young and afraid.”
At Jubilee, the Merinos found opportunity to pursue their dreams. Gilma began working and going to school. When she started losing her eyesight, she learned to read Braille. Chrystal graduated from high school and went on to attend college through the Jubilee to College scholarship program. Gilma’s two sons Gabriel, age 14, and Alex, age 10, are currently active in Jubilee Youth Services afterschool programs.
“Affordable housing helps kids like me reach our goals,” said Gabriel. “My sister Chrystal and my friend Edgar are both in college, and I hope to go to college one day too. Without affordable housing, that would not be possible for me,” said Gabriel.
While Gilma is now legally blind and unable to work, she still pours her time and energy into volunteering within the Jubilee Housing community. You’ll find her serving on the Board of Directors, teaching parenting classes to struggling single mothers, volunteering with Spanish translation, organizing Hispanic heritage events, helping senior neighbors stay active, and advocating for affordable housing with CNHED.
“Everyone—young and old—needs love and care. Jubilee is a strong, caring community and my family and I are lucky to be a part of it,” Gilma said.