Like angels, Family Renew Community supporters come to the aid of families in desperate circumstances — sleeping in cars, on floors or sofas in overcrowded homes with thin welcomes from exasperated loved ones, in seedy motels or worse. Here are stories of lives changed in 2018.
Dee and Tommy
After a breakup with “Tommy,” the father of her 6-year-old and 11-month-old girls, “Dee” was at first relieved to be able to move in with a relative. Then she realized illegal things were going on in the home. She had to get her children away, though there was nowhere to go. Dee borrowed her sister’s car so they would at least have a vehicle to protect them from the elements as they slept. Though she was certified as a nursing assistant, she could not hold a job because there was no one to watch the kids.
Dee’s entry into Family Renew Community in January 2018 came with child care. She got a job the first day, started saving money, paying off debt and earning a phlebotomy certification to increase her income.
With her life back on track, Dee wanted to put her family back together. Tommy wanted that, too. The trouble was that he, also, was homeless. He applied to join his family in Family Renew Community’s program, and was accepted into the household. Working together, they were able to reach the goal of saving enough to move their reunited family into a three-bedroom apartment
by May 1.
Though she had just given birth to a baby girl, “Bea” was depressed when she came to Family Renew Community in February 2017. She had broken free from an abusive situation, but had no job and no home for herself and her children. Her 3-year-old son was bouncing from one day care to another because no one — including she — seemed to be able to handle his behavior. With guidance and support from her case manager, she got a job in the public schools and started thinking about how she could make life better for her family. She was referred for counseling, which gave her the will to face the fact that her son has autism. Diagnosis led to help, and as her son’s behavior improved, Bea began to blossom in her work. She got a better job in a charter school, and, in her early 20s, discovered her passion. She started working on a child care credential and began daring to dream of running her own day care center. In the meantime, she developed a skill for saving money that had eluded her before. With money in the bank, Bea moved into an apartment with her two kids in early May 2018 — just in time for Mother’s Day. She was all smiles while she was packing up the car.
Daryl and Fran
Losing his job as night manager at a fast food restaurant could not have come at a worse time for Daryl. His wife, Fran, was experiencing a high-risk pregnancy and could not work for fear of miscarriage — again. They could not pay the rent, so packed up their 2-year-old daughter and maxed out their credit to pay nightly for a cheap motel.
Fran was about five months along when they came to Family Renew Community in August 2016. Daryl improved his employment situation and the couple paid down their debt. Fran gave birth in December to a healthy baby boy. By May 2017, the couple marshaled the resources to rent a home. The baby born into homelessness will celebrate her first birthday with her family in their own place.
Jessica and her siblings have leaned on each other a lot since losing their parents many years ago. But two full families could only coexist peacefully in a small home for so long. In May 2016, the brother and his family with whom Jessica, her teenager and her toddler had been crammed in threw them out. Struggling along on low wages, Jessica could not find a rental she could afford.
At Family Renew Community, she worked part time, earned a medical assistant certificate in August 2017 and got a good job with benefits.
In November she moved into a three-bedroom, two-bath rental home in her price range. It has plenty of room for her herself, her 15-year-old son, her 3-year-old daughter — and a niece who has no place else to go.
Getting help for her addiction meant Ashley would have to abandon her life and do the hard work of building a better one. She went to a treatment center when her children, ages 5 and 7, went into foster care. When she got out in October 2016, she had no home. And no job. And no hope of getting her kids back until she had both.
She found her hope at Family Renew Community. The family was reunited by Thanksgiving that year. Ashley got a restaurant job followed by two promotions, she and her children completed family therapy and the kids’ performance in school improved. In November 2017, they moved into a rental apartment of their own and planned to spend the holidays there, happily together.