By Nikki Garrett Metzger & Miguel Gonzalez
High Desert Daily
(Hesperia )-– 58 year-old Nona Charles is a disabled senior citizen who was to be evicted on Christmas Eve, but thanks to what she calls a “miracle” and a lot of behind the scenes work from community members and even Congressman Jerry Lewis’ office, Ms. Charles will not be homeless for Christmas.
“It’s hard for me to talk about still because I get overwhelmed with emotion, I start to cry,” said Charles, who has lived by herself over the past few years.
In October Charles received an eviction notice. The letter said she had 60 days to vacate the apartment. She was shocked because her housing is paid for by her section 8 money. When she looked into it, she found out that her monthly voucher had been reduced and it no longer covered her monthly rent. Charles could not come up with the difference, so she had to move.
Charles was totally overwhelmed with the thought of having to move before the end of the year, and has been using all of her strength along with volunteers from Rolling Start Resource, her friends from Water of Life Community Church and her pastor, all out trying to find her an apartment. “I was supposed to be out by December 11th, but Section 8 paid until the end of the month,” said Charles, who uses a motorized wheelchair due to debilitating back pains and oxygen intake problems. “I’ve been out looking, either on the computer at the library or looking at places when someone can take me.”
News of a possible eviction mobilized members of Charles’ congregation at the Water of Life Ministries in Fontana and Minister Joseph Annunciado, who has known Charles for nine years.“Nona lives by herself and she has no one to help her. When we heard about the eviction, members of our ministries were calling apartment complexes and rentals units so we could find her a home by Christmas.”
Annunciado explained that Charles has become a sort of matriarch to the ministry, despite her frail health.
“This is a very loving woman who loves our ministry and devotes her time to our group. You could say she has the heart of a child and she motivates others to have faith in God.”
Desperate to find a solution, Charles started to reach out for help from anyone who would hear her out.
“I told the story at the church, Hesperia Community Church, to one of the ministers, and he said, ‘I want you to call the Congressman for this district. Matter of fact, I’ll call him before you and let him know you are going to call.’” Charles contacted Congressman Lewis’ office and then followed up with a letter.
“That was last month, and I was hoping it would work. About five days ago I started getting phone calls,” Charles explained.
When the deadline to vacate her Hesperia apartment came near, the ministry gathered to pray for Charles and what was then an uncertain future.” We never lost hope she was going to get her Christmas miracle,” Annunciado said.
Annunciado remembers keeping faith overall “We prayed for God to show us the way.”
Charles was first contacted by Congressman Lewis’ secretary, then by Lisa Jones, Director of Housing Administration with the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino. “She told me that she would be handling my case now,” said Charles.
The call everyone was waiting for came in this past Wednesday. Charles was told she qualified for assisted living inRancho Cucamonga, near her doctors and her church group.“This is my Christmas gift from God! She,(Jones) got me a brand new place in Rancho Cucamonga, and she is supposed to call me when it is ready. My manager is going to be Section 8 or HUD. So I won’t have anything to worry about, and I can move in right away,” exclaimed Charles.
Charles’ church also banded together to help her. One of the ministers has a vacant home that he offered to her to stay in until her new apartment is ready. They also offered to help her move and store her belongings in their warehouse until she was ready for them. “He said he didn’t want me to be on the street for the holidays”.
“God is good, he is always coming through for me,” said Charles. “When things started to happen, I just thanked the Lord. Because I thought I was going to be out on the street.”
When Charles called Annunciado to let him know about her new residence, the minister stopped his car to pray and give thanks to God. “I got the call and I thought about Jesus, I thought about Christmas and I thought how our Lord never leaves us even in the eleventh hour. It was such a blessing for all of us.”
Charles shares the humbleness and attributes all of the positive events to the hard work of volunteers and God.
“The Lord opened up doors for me, and He keeps on opening them up. So I am very happy right now,” Charles said.
To make a donation to the Water of Life Ministry reach them at:
7623 East Ave.