"I want to be here until I can't be here."

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  • Jackie Wysinger at Armstrong 3
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Jackie Wysinger, 77, puts her heart into life’s details.

A wreath covered in pink, purple and white flowers hangs on her front door. On a shelf to the right, several cheerful-looking glass and ceramic birds greet each visitor. Inside, there are ceramic angels that the retired nursing assistant painted and dressed in delicate lace outfits.

This one-bedroom apartment in Armstrong Place Senior Housing has been Jackie’s home for nearly two years. When Jackie decided to move from nearby Fairfield to San Francisco to be closer to her daughter, her search for affordable senior housing was as methodical as some of her craft projects. She made several calls, including one to the Housing and Urban Development headquarters in Washington, D.C.

HUD told her about BRIDGE Housing and she submitted an application to live in Armstrong Place. Now she pays about a hundred dollars less than in her previous apartment. It’s a substantial savings for Jackie, who lives on a fixed income and has chronic health problems.

Jackie, a Texas native and grandmother of eight, says she tries to live positively, even when money might be tight or her health issues become a challenge. She keeps a collection of bibles and uplifting books in two shelves just beneath her apartment window.

She feels grateful to live at Armstrong Place; many of her friends haven’t had the same good fortune. “They face a harder situation than I do because they really have to scrimp and save and try to make it,” she says. “I don’t see how some of them do it.”

Armstrong Place has given Jackie somewhat of a charmed life. Sometimes she watches movies with friends on Friday evening in the building’s community room. On Wednesday morning, she joins a group of neighbors for breakfast. Every once in awhile, Jackie and other residents cook for each other, preparing meals like chicken, greens, corn bread, macaroni and cheese and peach cobbler. No matter the menu, she loves to give and receive food.

Her affection for Armstong Place is simple, she says: “I like being here. I want to be here until I can’t be here.”

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