Giving Up Isn’t an Option
by Dan Gregory, Strategic Communications Manager
“Sometimes I don’t know how I got through the day, but I did it. Running on zero sleep, zero energy, but still being forced to step up every day because you want a better tomorrow for your kids. That’s really hard.”
Lacretia is struggling. She loves her job, she had great rental history, and she can’t wait to get back into school to finish her degree and become a kindergarten teacher. But when she had to go on bedrest due to complications with her pregnancy, Lacretia’s day-to-day balance was derailed. She couldn’t work, so soon the eviction notice came. And with a critical shortage of apartments to rent anyway, landlords she’d contact could overlook her previously stellar rental history and deny her because of that one word on her report: evicted.
Since coming to Families Moving Forward, Lacretia has searched constantly for somewhere for her family – an 8-year-old, 6-year-old, and 4-month-old Eva – to call home. Trying to take care of her children, working, and viewing apartments is a lot to juggle, and some days it’s really frustrating that she just doesn’t feel like she’s going anywhere. “Giving up isn’t an option,” she says, the steel audible in her voice. “But every day, my children ask me: ‘When do we get to go home?’ and it’s hard to have to say – again – ‘Sorry, baby, not today.’”
The time families like Lacretia’s have to stay in shelter is getting longer, because there just aren’t enough apartments that are affordable to move into. And after a while, the rhythms of shelter life – even in the warmth of supportive hosting congregations – feel draining. “I’m not able to just kick my feet up and rest for five minutes when I want to. We don’t get to set our own routine, and you have to make sure your children aren’t disrupting other families who are there with you.” With a newborn, Lacretia is up every 2 hours at night, and morning always comes too soon. “You’re at your best when you’re well-rested, and though people try to make shelter as smooth and comfortable as possible, there’s no way to really feel rested when you’re here. You’re up at the crack of dawn,” she sighs, “and expected to push forward. Every day.”
And so she does. “I want to get back to a normal routine. I want to get my rental history back on track. I want to have a place where my children can just relax and be themselves.” Lacretia believes that someone will finally give her the break she needs, so she keeps searching and advocating for herself. “I’m proud I had the strength to come here,” she beams, that same steel showing up now in her smile. And with that, it was back to juggling children, work, and the search for their next home.