After two days on foot in triple-digit temperatures, Mike and his teenage daughter, Liz, finally arrived where they knew it would be okay to stay for more than a night: UMOM’s family emergency shelter.
In tears, exhausted and sunburned from their journey, Mike was overwhelmed with emotion that there was a comfortable and safe space for him and Liz. No longer would they have to keep moving daily to avoid loitering laws.
They would no longer wonder whether they would be able to scrape enough change to buy something to eat that day. Mike is especially concerned for Liz, who is 17 years old and 16 weeks pregnant.
Father and daughter had been on the streets for two months, trekking the Valley on foot after being forced to leave their apartment. Mike and Liz camped under bridges, bushes in different parks or wherever they could find a quiet space in relative safety. Moving from one place to the next was essential: they would be told to leave or cited by authorities if they stayed too long.
While Mike and Liz were having breakfast at a park one morning, Mike expected a park ranger approaching them was going to chase them away. Instead, the ranger offered them help. Within a day, UMOM case managers called to tell Mike a room was ready for them.
“Someone wants to help? There’s help for us?”
Fighting back tears in disbelief, Mike recalls his desperation, then happiness, when he was told to be at UMOM the next morning.
Mike and his daughter were so worn out and ready to be in one place, they arrived hours early for their check-in. For the first time in weeks, they had a private place to shower, real beds on which to sleep, three meals a day and were surrounded by people who care. Liz’s health is no longer in danger: she is getting regular prenatal care at UMOM’s onsite health clinic and recently started a new job. She is planning to get her GED while she prepares for the arrival of her new baby. Mike is getting medical treatment for his health issues and is excited about his employment prospects. He is ready to start a new life, safe, healthy and with a new grandchild in a permanent home.
Mike still cannot believe the positive turn of events since coming to UMOM and says he couldn’t be more pleased.
“Everything has been falling into place. I’ve got hope that we can do it.”
Every family that comes to UMOM for help has a different story and a unique set of circumstances that led them to homelessness. Yet, each of them shares the same need for stability: help finding the path toward a good job and a permanent home they can afford.
Your gift provides hope for a better future for each family that comes through our doors.
Because of you, we are ending homelessness for 15,000 people every year.