Earlier this summer, a group of HDC residents participated in Home Matters Day, a day of education and advocacy hosted by Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, to speak directly to elected officials at the state capitol on issues around affordable housing that directly impact their lives. At HDC, we believe in connecting residents to advocacy opportunities where they can use their voice and speak on issues that are important to them.

One participating resident was Sandie Geib, a resident at Southgate Apartments in Leesport, PA who decided to get involved in advocacy, “because I am a fighter,” she shared. “I believe that when you change one person’s life, they can change another person’s life, and it just snowballs from there.”

Hear from Sandie at Home Matters Day.

Read more about Sandie’s story in her own words below.

“I have lived in this building for more than three years. I had been living in Tennessee for a while, and I spent time with each of my three daughters until I could find a place that felt presentable. With my income, I had to be careful with what I was spending.

When I was looking for an apartment, the prices were ridiculous. I looked at an apartment in a complex I used to live in, and it was very filthy and run down.

Here at Southgate, the rooms are big and bright. It’s a nice place to live and it’s very affordable.

When I was living in Schuylkill County, it was an impoverished and run down area. There was nothing bright about living there at all. When I look back at my old poetry from that time, it’s very dark and heavy.

When you live in an area that’s covered in darkness, when it’s hanging over an area like that, it tends to make you give up hope. You can feel lost, like there’s nothing you can do about it. It was a coal town that was very apathetic. I made it a point to change things for myself.

I fought to get the Reading Symphony Orchestra to come up north of the mountain in Schuylkill County. That’s where the poverty was. South of the mountain people had big houses and could go out to eat all the time. That’s where the money was. No one ever made an effort come north of the mountain. I fought for three years for that and it was so successful. It made the population happier. People need to be awakened. When you’re in poverty, you’re a sheep.

I believe that when you change one person’s life, they can change another person’s life, and it just snowballs from there.

When I was living in Schuylkill County, I raised my three daughters by myself. My ex-husband had addiction issues. I was raising them alone. I don’t have young children anymore, but I wish I would have had affordable housing back then. Their lives would have been better. They could never have what their friends had. They weren’t able to be the people they could have been if we would have had more income, or if our housing had been more affordable.

Even now, my money goes a lot further and it affords me more opportunities not to struggle.”