Against the Odds

More than 10,000 families applied for the 115 affordable apartments BRIDGE recently completed at Marea Alta, across from the San Leandro BART Station, making the odds of moving in tougher than gaining admission to Stanford. I’m particularly inspired by the story of one new resident, Ahmad, who has overcome so much to create a better life for his family.

Ahmad was a driver for the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. In 2015, he and his family came to the US on a special immigration visa. Their first American home was in a very rough neighborhood. “It was almost like Afghanistan,” he admitted. The family then moved into a motel room, where they initially paid $1,400 a month in rent. It increased to $1,500—worrisome for Ahmad, who worked as a delivery contractor for FedEx in San Leandro. The family successfully applied for a Marea Alta apartment, and they were thrilled to move in on January 5, 2017.

“It feels safer here,” said Ahmad, who especially appreciates the play areas for the children. He continues to face health issues due to a steel bullet that’s lodged in his leg, and he is saving money so that he can afford to take time off to have the surgery he needs.

Despite the challenges, Ahmad and his wife, Frozan, are optimistic about their future. On display in their new apartment is a sign Ahmad created by hand, with phrases for the family to live by, including: “Respect one another,” “Keep your promise,” and “Never give up.” 

I want to follow his advice, and say “thank you” to our dedicated partners, Board and staff who work tirelessly to create homes and opportunity for people like Ahmad.



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