Dulce Mata and Saul Guzman lived in Rock Springs with their three children, including a newborn. The sudden flooding of the neighborhood and the evacuation process were terrifying for the children. The family’s car flooded, and they lost items stored in the garage, including a new baby crib and many family mementos. The family stayed at the James Lick High School gymnasium for two weeks and then moved to Seven Trees shelter, where they stayed for a month. Hundreds of people crowded the shelters, sleeping in close proximity to each other including countless sick people coughing and sneezing. Guards treated evacuees with disrespect and women were frequently sexually harassed. Nobody dared to speak up since at least they had roofs over our heads.
When Dulce noticed a sore on her newborn’s tongue, she took him to the county clinic. The doctor recommended she transfer to a place with fewer sick people, so even though it meant being separated from Saul and the other two children, Dulce moved to Casa Linda Motel on Monterey Road. Shortly after she arrived, a stranger approached her, soliciting sex. Scared and horrified, Dulce realized that the City and the agencies responsible for the housing of flood victims sent a mother and a two month old baby to live where prostitution took place openly. Dulce returned to Seven Trees, risking her baby’s health.
The family was relocated, but their future remained uncertain. At first they were told they could stay until September, then July. Afterwards, they were relocated to housing, that was temporary, with a shifting deadline to move. The family’s stress of finding a new home is magnified by the shortage of affordable housing in San José.