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Rebekah will never forget her and her young daughter’s first day of homelessness. “I felt truly alone for the first time. Homelessness was a world that I was aware of, but never thought I’d be a part of. I always thought I’d be able to find someone to help me...but that wasn’t the case.”


Rebekah had been trying to avoid homelessness for months, but after so many rejections and dead ends, she realized how powerless she felt in providing for her young daughter, Ayla. She was ready to give up. She “nestled Ayla into bed at a friend’s house, took a walk, found a gallon of vodka and then, a bridge.” That night, in the middle of June, overwhelmed by deep shame, hopelessness and defeat, she planned to jump off the Arthur Street bridge and die.


Thankfully, while standing there on the edge of her tipping point, Rebekah came to the conclusion that “as useless and worthless as I felt, I realized that I didn’t want to put that on my children.” She stepped away from the edge and checked herself into intensive treatment. Once she was stabilized, the treatment staff dropped Rebekah and Ayla off on the front steps of Family Promise of Spokane. Vulnerable and afraid, but ready to make a change, Rebekah grabbed her daughter’s hand and walked into her first day.


Because of the COVID-19 crisis, parents who are living paycheck-to-paycheck or couch-to-couch now find themselves facing a tipping point just like Rebekah. The stress, isolation and hopelessness is becoming overwhelming. Without intervention, many already vulnerable families will tip over into the destructive cycle of homelessness where they end up hidden, sleeping in cars, garages, tents, backyards or “nestled into bed at a friend’s house.” Last year alone, just in Spokane County, more than 3,000 children experienced homelessness in this way - children just like Rebekah’s daughter, Ayla. They need your help, now more than ever.


You can provide one day of services at Family Promise of Spokane for just $24.50… and, when that day is the first day for someone like Rebekah, it changes the trajectory of a family’s entire life. “I was able to breathe easier. That first day let my family be all together at once. I was able to feel shiny and new. I felt at peace for the first time in a very long time. I could let my guard down and relax. I felt safe and not only physically, but emotionally.. I got to leave my past behind and step into something new.”


$24.50 provides everything needed for a family to have a hope-filled first day: food, shelter, compassionate mentoring and a safe place to sleep at night. By making a monthly gift of $24.50, you provide stability, empowerment and healing for a vulnerable child, mom or dad through Family Promise of Spokane. And, because it typically takes only 34 days of care before a family moves into their new home, you’ll be a part of providing a “first day” to a new family every month and 12 families a year!


Today, when we’re being told to “stay at home,” you can commit to being there for families without a home. Right now, you have the power to change the future for a family just like Rebekah and Ayla’s.


Rebekah herself says that if she had not experienced that peace on her first day at Family Promise, her family would likely be living in their car, teetering on the edge of another crisis. Instead, Rebekah says, “They empowered me. I would not be making changes in myself and in my family and in the world around me if it weren’t for Family Promise.”


Be a part of changing someone’s first day. When you become a monthly partner, you help end the cycle of homelessness for kids, moms and dads in Spokane. Together, we can offer the hope-filled first day that each and every family needs.


Where are they now? Rebekah and her family recently moved into their new home. Today, she is employed and reunited with her husband, Randall. And her story has come full circle: “My new home is only a few blocks from the bridge I was going to jump from and a few blocks from the front steps of Family Promise. This is my Bermuda Triangle, but instead of being lost, by God’s amazing grace, I’m found.”


Consider a financial gift today at www.familypromiseofspokane.org/donate

Kristen and Heather are sisters. They are college students at Spokane Community College (SCC), they are single mothers, and they’re each other’s biggest supporters.

They are also homeless. They had lived at the Open Doors shelter for about two weeks when I met them in mid-August.

We sat on a park bench outside the shelter so that the sisters could keep an eye on their children on the playground. Kristen began telling me her story:

“I left Wenatchee because my daughter’s dad has a substance abuse problem and [there was] domestic violence." She got a place in Spokane, but missed rent when she had to buy a car to get to school. Her landlord wasn't willing to wait for the payment.

This was not her first time being homeless. Kristen continued, "We were homeless a lot when we were kids with my mom. So it’s kind of been a whole life-long, up-and-down thing.” Kristen shared that her mom was also homeless because of domestic violence. She worries this repeating pattern will affect her children.

Kristen’s sister, Heather, has a five-year-old daughter. She came up to say a shy hello on the park bench and sat with us. Heather told me about how one morning they woke up to her daughter’s father gone: “He kissed my daughter goodbye while she was still sleeping and then the next day he wasn’t coming back.”

Kristen told me about being a student while staying at the shelter: “Getting through the quarter—we’re literally in the shelter over here, using the hotspots on our phone, trying to use our laptops while everybody’s sleeping, trying to get papers done, our finals week stuff. [Family Promise] was really supportive of it though. Usually you have to have your electronics off and they’re like, ‘Oh no, get it done.’ So we did it.”

“A month and a half ago I would have never guessed that I would have been here,” Heather added. “I was—in July—living normally, got my financial aid, got caught up on my bills.”

“You feel like you’re doing everything right, and then the rug just gets ripped from underneath you. And stuff happens, it’s like a snowball,” said Kristen.

Like her sister, Heather fears that her daughter will fall into the cycle of homelessness: "I want

to break the cycle for my daughter. That’s why no matter what I was going through within the last month and a half, I pushed myself to keep going to school and still maintain my grades. That way I can eventually have a future for her…She’s my main motivation."

I asked Heather what she would like people to know about her story: “When you see homeless people, it’s not just about drugs or alcoholism or it’s people being lazy. It’s actually people who just have a string of bad luck. And for those who are going through it, who are trying their hardest: There is hope."

Update: Heather and Kristin’s families, due to their hard work and partnership with Family Promise of Spokane, are now stably housed in their own apartment. They’re looking forward to finishing their degrees and continuing to build a wonderful life for their kids.

Written by FPS Intern 8/23/2019

Photos were not included at the request of Kristin & Heather.

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The beginning of it was terrifying. You feel like a horrible person having to put our kids through that, it is not fair. It was February, pouring rain and we were cold and soaked when we arrived at Family Promise’s Open Doors Shelter.

If it weren’t for Family Promise, we wouldn’t be alive today. We would’ve gone hungry and cold. We would’ve ended up under a bridge in a tent.


We moved from Open Doors to the Bridges Program where for three weeks we moved from church to church. We would get up early, but we wanted to change the direction of our life.”

After just 22 days of being homeless, we moved into a rental house with a backyard and a fireplace. Michael got a job at Wal-Mart and I am going to school to be a nurse.

Family Promise loved us like their own. They gave us warmth, food, and shelter. It was like a mom and dad helping us out.

I would love to help other people find homes like what we have. I want everyone to feel what we have.

Thank you for all of your support of Family Promise.”

Michael and Hailey Helms

Family Promise of Spokane Graduates

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