In July 2018, I, Mattie ,Tyrone and our three children came to the state of Minnesota. We were unsure where we would live, but I knew Minnesota was a good place to raise a family and also the land of opportunities. After arriving to Minnesota, we visited a relative of mine who told us we could stay with her. After we gave her money for rent, she kicked us out a week later. With little to no money, we were stranded in Minnesota with nowhere to go. We slept in our car for about three days and then looked for shelters that had space for a family like ours. I called Families Moving Forward, but didn’t get an answer at first, so Tyrone and I decided to stop in. When we arrived at FMF we met Case Manager Kayli Salin. We explained to her that we were from another state and came here to start a life but didn’t plan well. She understood our situation and told us the process would take a couple days to enter the program. Soon, though, we moved into Families Moving Forward (FMF), not knowing what to expect. We knew we would be staying at different churches every week. Our first church was big, the people were pretty nice, the food was excellent, they made us feel welcomed. The best part was all of us having our own beds to sleep in. During our stay at FMF, we learned that each church was different and the people we met were all different.
Experiencing homelessness wasn’t easy at all; it can make you stronger or you let it break you. The situation itself makes you feel like less of a parent, and less of a person, period. After weeks of being in FMF, we began talking to our peers and learned that most of them were awesome people who had stories similar to our own on how they ended up homeless. After that, we became family. We went places together, cooked dinners together, even creating a few activities for our children.
Being homeless made Tyrone and I argue more than we ever had but it also made us stronger as a couple. We both went through challenging health issues but, we stayed strong for each other and it only brought us closer.
From the bottom of my heart, I am really thankful that FMF took my family in. FMF staff was our family too. They became mentors (Sakinah) and our guidance (Kayli). Some even felt our pain as suppose they went through it themselves (Linda and Sasoneia). I would recommend Families Moving Forward to anyone who’s in the same situation and wants a better life for themselves. FMF taught us how to budget and save our money. They also taught us patience. I am so grateful I went through this program. I am grateful I got the chance of meeting these people. I really can say all four months that my family was there, FMF treated us well,the churches were great and the people were awesome.
Thank you Beacon, for Families Moving Forward.
Photos by John Walsh.