S is a loving and proud single father caring for his two teenage children, a son and a daughter. His son is on the autism spectrum, requiring S to stay home and care for him. He is unable to work due to the care his son needs. He is currently looking for a part time job that would allow him to work 4-5 hours a day when his son is in school, but is unable to find anything that allows for this. His love for his children is evident, as anytime he speaks of them, he has a big smile on his face.

S’s experience with becoming homeless began when he and his two eldest children needed to leave a shared room rental. They had been living there with S’s wife and his youngest child, when his wife decided to move back to Mexico and take that child with her. At this point, the family became separated. As the house was full of mostly men, S wasn’t comfortable staying there with just him and his teenagers. It was at this point that he and his children began living in a revolving pattern of staying in shelters, moving to hotels, and then back to shelters.

S and his children were homeless for approximately a year and a half. The entire experience was very unmotivating, according to S. He was always worried about where they would be staying on any given night, and where would be the next place they were staying at. He shared part of the challenge living in shelters and/or hotels was always needing to be confined to his room, with his children. It was especially difficult for his son as he has different needs. During this time, he took his son to numerous medical appointments with various doctors to try and help his son navigate through the challenges these experiences created.

When S became homeless, he immediately applied for Section 8 housing assistance. He was initially approved to move into the rental where he and his children now live. Although this was such a relief and he didn’t have to go through the process of voucher extensions and instances of being denied housing that so many others face, it still wasn’t a done deal. At move in, it was determined that the voucher couldn’t be used for this rental due to eligibility requirements. The voucher only included his two U.S. born children, and since he wasn’t a part of that unit, he was excluded from the voucher. There was also a limit on the amount of rent the voucher would cover, and the current rental surpassed that amount. Luckily, he was still accepted since the rental property is considered low income housing, and he had independent sufficient monthly income from various other sources to help him sustain and remain eligible without the voucher.

S was very thankful to the Inspired Spaces Foundation for furnishing his new home for him and his children. He says they are really enjoying it and he seemed proud to show it off. Part of the design was a make-up vanity for his daughter; which was really the one thing she wanted. She is very happy to have it and he seemed excited that we were able to make it happen. He shared that he is thankful to God for having this opportunity.

When asked what message he may have to others in similar situations, S said to never give up; don’t get discouraged despite all the challenges, as you can get ahead. Life is difficult, but there is a way to get through it. He said that there is a saying that “ you can fall down, but can always get back up.” S is an amazing example of just that.

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Whether it was escaping abuse, struggling with substance abuse issues and mental health challenges, or lack of income to pay rent, each person has demonstrated strength, resilience, perseverance and courage to ask for help.