Anita_portrait_croppedAnita has lived in her CASA apartment for 10 years. She wakes up early each morning and sits outside with her coffee. When Robert moved in three and a half years ago, he started joining her. “I’m so glad I have a friend like Robert,” she says. “We look out for each other. We’re best friends.”

Anita moved to her CASA apartment after living in a group home in Raleigh. “I’ve been here for ten years with no hospitalizations except one time in ten years,” Anita says with pride. “I take care of me and I love it.”  Having her own apartment means Anita has more control over her life than she did in the group home. “I left because I wanted to be independent,” she says. “I think every woman wants to be independent.”

Robert is originally from New Jersey and moved to Florida in his early twenties. “I worked for a few years managing a convenience store down there….I used to put a lot of hours in and I was probably working too much.  It just got overwhelming.” After his parents passed away, Robert moved back to Raleigh to live near his sister.  He lived in a group home for several years where he got connected to Club Horizon and, eventually, to CASA. “There’s nothing like having your own little place,” he says of his apartment.

Robert_portrait_croppedAnita says sometimes she gets lonely in her apartment but, when she does, she can be with her friends who live in the same CASA property. “I love having them come over and have dinner with me,” she says. “Me and Robert fix a meal for a couple people in the apartment. Everybody that comes over says they feel comfortable here cause it’s loveable and I’m very nice to people.” At the same time, Anita and Robert agree that they much prefer having their own apartment to living in a group home.  “It’s good to have your own space,” Anita says. “You can relax, watch the TV shows you want, and you can have quiet time.”

Anita thinks the best thing about the CASA apartment is the porch out front. “I can sit on the porch for hours,” Anita says. She’s often joined on the porch by the other CASA tenants. They have their coffee together in the morning or play badminton in the yard in the afternoon.

“I just try to make every day a good day,” Robert says. “I’m happy now.  My life didn’t turn out nowhere near the way I wanted it to but my life right now is still pretty good.”

“We could move,” Anita notes. “But we choose to stay and grow here. I can stay here and I can grow where I feel safe.” Anita says she’s learned a lot since she first moved into her apartment. “I’m better at directions,” she says. “I can walk around the block now by myself and up to the park by myself.”

When Robert is asked what had changed for him since moving into his CASA apartment, he thinks for a minute and then says, “just…feeling really good about myself.” He grins. “Everything’s going positive.  I tell people, it’s getting better by the day.”

Anita smiles at that and says, “I’ll stay here until I’m eighty!” And Robert agrees: “Same here. I don’t want to move nowhere.”