15 Oct Never Alone with the Care of Homefirst
Imagine having to vacate your home with six children in tow, one with substantial disabilities. Your funds are rapidly diminishing. You try as best as you can to maintain normalcy for your children. The pain, guilt, and embarrassment of this uncontrollable situation weigh on you as you try to explain it to all to them. Where do you turn? What’s next?
Meet Tracey and her husband Jamal and their 7-, 9-, 11-, 14-, 15, and 17-yearold children, one of whom has a genetic disability that impedes his ability to speak. When their landlord threw them out of their apartment after a dispute about shared utility expenses, they moved into a local hotel during the week so
that the children could continue going to school, and on the weekends sheltered with a relative willing to share her studio apartment in New York City.
“It was one of the hardest things we ever went through,” Tracey says. “We tried to keep it from the kids as much as possible and it broke my heart to hear them ask ‘Mommy, where are we going to live?’ ‘Mommy, where’s Santa going to bring our toys?’ We felt so alone.”
In the midst of handling this difficult situation, Jamal lost his job. “This devastated my husband,” Tracey says. With this, the high cost of living in a hotel, paying to travel back and forth to New York City for eight people, and handling other living expenses, it didn’t take long before the family’s savings—and their spirits—were depleted.
Just before Christmas, after months of searching, Tracey and Jamal found an apartment able to accommodate their large family, but they didn’t have enough money for the security deposit and first month’s rent. That’s when Tracey finally found her way to Homefirst. Not only did Homefirst provide the security deposit and the first month’s rent, it also gave them a furniture voucher, toys to make Christmas joyous for the children and, most importantly, a vision for a pathway forward.
“Our Homefirst case manager went above and beyond to help us. What they did really touched my heart. I cried like a baby because Homefirst showed us that we were NOT alone,” Tracey says, adding that Homefirst is now part of her extended family. She says the consistent check-ins and referrals from her
case manager are her saving grace.
Today the family is happy and secure in their apartment. “When you’re going through something, you feel like no one is there. And what can you do? It’s a
lost feeling. I really don’t know what I would have done without Homefirst. I honestly cannot tell you what would have happened to us had Homefirst not
been there,” Tracey says.
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