Full photo essay by Joan Cusick available at Sacramento News & Review

Before securing affordable housing, artist Jose DiGregorio was sleeping in his art studio. Charnelle Burdine and Ashley Clark were living on the streets. Jessie Ann Wagster and her 15-year-old chihuahua, Jake, were living “day to day” out of her car.

But gaining a safe and affordable place to live — with rent capped at 30% of their gross income — turned their lives around.

“I was sleeping in my studio at Verge Center for the Arts, which you’re not supposed to do,” DiGregorio says of the Midtown Sacramento art studio. “But I was actually setting the alarm, signing myself out as if I was leaving, and then running back into the studio before I tripped the alarm and staying in there for the night. It was there that I received a phone call saying I was approved for a three-bedroom [apartment], and I started sobbing. I couldn’t even speak. I mean, I couldn’t believe it.”

DiGregorio and his two daughters have lived at the Warehouse Artist Lofts ever since it opened on R Street in Sacramento eight years ago as an affordable community for artists.

Full photo essay by Joan Cusick available at Sacramento News & Review