How Our Family Came to Have Housing Stability in Pasadena by Morgan Duff Tucker

5 Sep

Besides being the Office Assistant for Making Housing & Community Happen and a lover of Spongebob Squarepants, I am a Pasadena native through and through. It’s one of the things that defines me. I’ve lived in the same neighborhood, on the same block, in the same house since I was three-years-old. I like to think I have a great relationship with my house. I love it and it’s been good to me. However, as with all great relationships, it helps to take a step back every now and again to consider that the other person (or in this case house)  lived a full and interesting life before I came along. When Jill asked me to write my “housing story” I was intrigued by the prospect of digging into my home’s past. I immediately set up an unofficial interview with my mom to get the inside scoop on how we came to own our home. I thought I already knew the story, but in reality I had no idea. What I learned left me surprised and deeply humbled by God’s grace, and how the Love of Christ motivated one special woman to come alongside my family in an amazing way.

Morgan Tucker - Photo

Me – Morgan Duff Tucker

My Housing Story by Morgan Duff Tucker

My housing story began before I was born. In the summer of 1987, my parents packed their car to the brim with everything they owned, and kissed New Jersey goodbye. They were young, in love, and excited to get away from their family, who had a funny habit of over involving themselves in my parent’s lives. After a week of driving, my mom and dad made it to California. Shortly after, they moved into a rundown apartment in Hollywood. They had big dreams, but very little money. Four years later, I was born, and I’m told the money situation got worse. To top it off, by that time, my grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, his wife and his baby had all decided to leave New Jersey, and follow my parents to California where they once again became overly involved in their lives. Old habits die hard.

At one point, we all rented a cramped, little two-bedroom house together. Although it was a roof over our head, it wasn’t enough space for three, growing families. Our living arrangements had to change, and that’s where my mom came in. She had always dreamed of owning a home before she was thirty, and if she was going to meet that goal, she only had a couple of years left. Unfortunately, my parent’s finances were a mess, and they didn’t know the first thing about becoming homebuyers. It was around that time when my mom was hired to work for Sandra Knox. Sandra was the executive director of Pasadena Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS). She was an amazing woman, and a tireless advocate for the underrepresented in her community. I eventually came to know her as the lady who gave me M&Ms, and who always left toys around the office for me to play with. Sandra Knox equipped my mom with the knowledge and skills she needed to find a suitable house for us, and coached her every step of the way. It was a long, and arduous process, but in 1994, when I was three-years-old, we moved into our home at 830 N. Pasadena ave.

From that point on, I can speak about my housing story from my own experience. Overall, it’s been characterized by peace and security. My extended family eventually followed us to our new home, and we finally had the space to welcome them with open arms. My grandpa, a talented carpenter, even converted the garage on our property into an ADU. Over the years, many of my relatives have used that ADU as a starter home, and now it’s the home I share with my husband. There have been many struggles since my parents bought our home, but as of today, we expect the house to be fully paid off by 2021. As I reflect on my housing story, I am grateful to God for inspiring Sandra Knox, and others who share her spirit of coming alongside those in need of a home. I’m happy to be a part of GPAHG today because I know this organization has that same spirit. I’m excited to enter the next chapter of my housing story, and pray I will continue to have opportunities to be a blessing to others, as others have been a blessing to me.


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