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David (tenant) posing with his family

Hope and a Home for a Family

My name is David and my family and I live in a beautiful home in the eastside neighborhood that is owned by Homes First.

Prior to finding this home, we were feeling pretty desperate.  My wife and I and our three kids had spent the previous six months living in the shelter. 
I know that many people wonder how a family like ours ends up needing to live in a shelter.  I think we probably have a pretty typical reason – I lost my job and couldn’t find another one in the town in which we lived.  However, I’ve been told that the rest of our story isn’t quite as typical.

We were living in Lakewood, WA when I lost my job.  My wife home schools our kids so we decided to move to try to find work.  Not having a car, we packed up everything we owned – even our daughter’s therapy dog, onto our bicycles and headed out.  I know that sounds pretty daunting.  500 lbs of gear, three kids, two adults, and a dog all on bicycles trying to find a job and a place we could afford to live.  I can only imagine what the cars passing us on the roads must have thought!

We stayed at camp sites and motels along the way and ended finally in the Capitol State Forest where we could set up camp as a base to work from to find shelter. We biked hard every day and I was so proud of these guys.

I also decided that maybe I needed to start my own business and started that process from our new home/campsite.

We were in the forest for six weeks and during that time, I would bike to the library to get on the computer to work on my business and search for a shelter for his family. But there was no opening anywhere.

The last two weeks in the forest, it rained and poured and our tent, clothes, beds were all wet. It was cold and everyone got sick.

Finally we found “Out of the Woods,” a small shelter run by the Unitarian Church for families with children. Their goal is to help families like ours move from homelessness to stable, sustainable housing.
They connected us with Homes First.  Homes First just happened to have a single-family home which would be available in two months.

We loved it from the first moment we walked in to see it.  All sorts of people worked together to make it happen, it felt like a group effort. They too were respectful and treated us with kindness.  They even included us in choosing the color to paint the house so it would really feel like our own home.

Now I have a job I love. We still don’t have the money for a car so I bicycle there every day from the eastside neighborhood.  On my days off, I continue work on my own business. Ocean stays home and schools our kids.
We never expected to be in this situation.  When it happened we felt a moment of despair but moved forward to make it better. 

Now we have a new home & plans, and the future looks bright for all of us.  I am filled with joy every time I come home and see my kids in our yard playing with the kids from the neighborhood – without a care in the world.  Just the way it is supposed to be.

We are all grateful for support we have received from Out of the Woods and Homes First!  they worked together to help us turn a family disaster into a new beginning.  This home is exactly what we needed to get our lives back on track.  We can’t thank Homes First enough and all of you for supporting this amazing organization.

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