For Barajas, it's a mansion compared to the motel room he and his kids shared on West Colfax. Out of work with a physical disability after 20 years at an ice company, it was the best he could do at the time.
"At least we were together," Barajas said. “There are a lot of people out there who were a lot worse off than us. That's what kept us going. At least we had each other. Some people don't even have that."
But living at the motel was not easy.
"There was suffering and sadness all around us. It was just bad. There might have been drug activity going on. We kept to ourselves. I think people saw that we were a tight-knit family and that we treated everyone with humility, so people let us be," Barajas said.
They survived. And after four years, they were given the opportunity to thrive.
Barajas got a life-changing acceptance letter from Metro West Housing Solutions (MWHS) that said his household qualifies for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, commonly known as Section 8. Names are chosen in a lottery system. Some people might wait years for their name to come up. Barajas waited about four years for a voucher.