A year ago Laura had a job she loved, a car, and a house for her and her two kids. Today, she is lucky that Seattle’s YWCA is helping her move out of a tent community into a hotel room.
I met Laura while she was moving what possessions she had left from Nickelsville, a tent community located just outside of Seattle’s downtown area, to a hotel room provided by the YWCA’s family homelessness program. She and her kids stayed at Nickelsville for a week after “timing out” from a 30-day shelter. Laura was lucky to have a place to go. Nickelsville is the only tent community that allows children, but living in a tent is not the best situation for young kids. Nickelsville and several social services agencies work together so that families and single parents with young kids get the help they need.
If you are not aware, and I feel a blog post on this topic coming soon, many shelters are transitional with 30 – 90 day programs. Some may go for a year or two, which actually makes a lot more sense. Who can get their life back in 90 days or less?!! NO ONE! When a resident goes past the allotted time, in Larua’s case 30 days, the family “timed out” and has to be removed from the shelter. Ideally, that would be to their own apartment or a longer transitional program, but that takes a small miracle to happen. Many places just give a reference to a new shelter and do not even provide transportation, or they will “dump” clients to other shelter programs, such as an emergency shelter that takes anyone. (Catherine was dumped to a winter shelter program, where she was kicked out into the streets and eventually died)
I have a lot of respect for Laura. While talking to her, she told me stories of her childhood that were beyond horrible. What she had to do as a child is unthinkable, but she keeps fighting hard to make a better life for her two boys, even against all odds.
If you’re interested, here is the link to the Facebook page her and her sister created for their band.