Family finds support during difficult times

Luis Jr. holding a pair of shoes from the Christmas gift program

Before moving to Villas de Merced, Luis and Patricia Vazquez were struggling to find a safe, comfortable home that their family could afford. In 2000, the family moved into Villas De Merced, a Mercy Housing family property located in Mesa, Ariz., that is home to nearly 300 residents.

Their 11-year-old son, Luis Jr. struggles with a debilitating illness that often leads to death at an early age. Due to his condition, Luis Jr. is home schooled and doesn’t spend a lot of time outside. Wanting him to feel like any other kid, Patricia enrolled her son in the Villas De Merced’s summer youth program. Though he would often have to wear a mask for protection from germ exposure, Luis Jr. didn’t allow this to get in the way of having a great time spending time with the other kids in the neighborhood.

“Luis’ enthusiasm at the opportunity to play with the other kids was obvious,” said Lena Kelly, Mercy Housing Director of Resident Services. “Luis and Patricia are proud of the increased level of socialization that their son has had in the past year, as well as his continued stable health.”

Recently, Luis Sr. was forced to go on medical leave after he was diagnosed with a tumor. This has created a number of financial challenges for the family, and they contacted the Resident Services staff for assistance. The Resident Services staff supported the family with filing appeals for Social Security benefits as well as helping the family find resources for medical expense aid.

 The family has received food donations and Christmas gifts from the property. The staff and fellow residents raised money to benefit the family by hosting a Spaghetti Dinner and a Car Wash. To help with household expenses, Patricia was hired as a part-time housekeeper at Villas De Merced. Patricia hopes to increase her savings to start building a nest egg for the family to purchase their own home.

Although it was a difficult year for the Vazquez family, they remain optimistic knowing that they are part of a large, caring community.

“The family is much more aware of the support systems they have in place to help them get through the difficult times and they feel confident enough to ask for help when they need it most,” said Kelly. “They are always appreciative of the assistance they receive from staff and their neighbors in the community.”