Where I live in Beaverton, Oregon, homelessness has impacted 1,720 students in the 2016-2017 school year. These are families who may be living with a relative or friend — or in parks, cars, or shelters.
Where I work at my day job at Sunset Presbyterian Church, we are excitedly partnering with Family Promise of Beaverton, Oregon.
Family Promise helps find shelter for homeless families at week-long residencies at partner churches and organizations while another organization serves as a year-long day center.
The facility where I work will serve as the day center for the families, where they will eat, shower, and watch their children or job hunt during the day. It is a powerful commitment to addressing the on-the-ground reality facing so many families.
Many people could quickly find themselves in the same position. Even people who work hard and do everything they can would be lying to say that they are not partially afraid of what is to come.
A family of four, including two pre-teen daughters who are only 9 months apart in age, spent a year living homeless — and I understand their struggle.
The woman in the photo is Melissa Little. It was she who caught the moment their girls were surprised with a new new home. Like she says on Facebook, just check out those eyes when they learn the truth.
Over that year they had lived in basements, their car, and a homeless shelter. Eventually they got into a small apartment, which afforded them some safety but also created tension between the girls because they had to share a room.
“Here is the video of us revealing a huge surprise to our girls just a couple days ago. They thought that we were helping our friend, Dorothy, move into her new house,” Little said in a statement.
After a wander through the house, the father found a card, presumably from the friend Dorothy. One of the girls was encouraged to read the card and she did so very carefully.
She even read the part that says they are not helping anyone move, and this is their own house. The girl, wide-eyed, said she did not understand, and dad patiently pointed out the phrasing again.
Suddenly a light bulb went off for both girls. The one squealed with delight and the other lost the ability to talk, backing away with eyes wide and hands over her mouth.
“My husband told the girls that our friend asked that we take pictures or a video so that she could have some before and after shots of her new home — that’s the only way I could take video without the girls getting suspicious,” the mother said about the video of her children’s delightful reaction.
There is no doubt this is a big moment that will resonate with these girls for some time. This is not the only family in need of a home.
To all those reading, I ask you keep the healing going by reaching out to help families in dire need. If you know of housing options, jobs, or can share a bit of hope, please do so.
At Liftable we try to end on a note of hope. More and more I am convinced that you, the reader, are that hope. Let us all work together to make a difference.
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