The Villanueva family is one of many in Mountain View that have been disproportionately hit by the impacts of the pandemic. After husband Jose Villanueva’s car accident in September of 2020, he was detained and spent eight months in jail for lack of documents. Being both undocumented immigrants meant that they did not get any government economic relief during the pandemic, and Jose’s case was unpredictable. Maria’s job in the house cleaning service decreased almost by half, while her two young US born children switched to online learning. Maria had to find a way to balance working outside, and caring for her young children. Fortunately, the school gifted both kids a scholarship to a service that gave them a space to attend their online classes on a normal school schedule, which allowed Maria to work without leaving the kids alone at home.
Maria had to keep fighting despite the depression she experienced during this time. “I had to find a way to get myself out of this state, because I had no one to tell me ‘you know what, everything will pass, be strong’. I would look at my children and think ‘if their father is not here and something happens to me, what would happen to my children..’ With help from her older sons from a previous marriage and the support of the community, She was able to keep the apartment where she had lived since 2007 with her family.
In May, 2021 Jose was finally released. Now, Jose returned home and found a job back in the restaurant service industry. Maria keeps working her house cleaning job, and the children are back at school attending onsite classes. After a very challenging year for the family they are recovering, together.