Tina was working full-time at an adult long-term care facility in Moses Lake when
She found herself stranded. The falling snow illuminated her broken down car, the cold frosting over the windows. Her fingers were blue with the mid-winter chill.
Tina, 30, was fostering her sister’s newborn and caring for her 13-year-old son, Will, at the time. Caring for these two kids was a full time job in itself, without even taking into consideration her actual job. The baby's daycare was on one side of town, while her work was on the other. To not have a car to drive, coupled with the impossibility of navigating bus lines in the middle of winter – made a difficult task nigh on insurmountable.
The consequences were unavoidable. Tina started showing up late to work and eventually lost her job. Without income nor a mode of reliable transportation, Tina started to fall behind on her bills. The bills started adding up, and the state took away her nephew. To add insult to injury, she was evicted a week before COVID-19 swept the nation.
“I was left feeling hopeless,” Tina stated. “I didn’t have anyone that I could turn to.”
For over a year-and-a-half, Tina lived on the streets. She gave custody of her teenager to his father while she survived wherever and however she could. Tina found out she was pregnant in August and gave birth in May of 2021. For the first five months of her baby's life, Tina and her partner Don were living out of their car.
“Life was very hectic,” Tina described, “Imagine trying to change a diaper at 3 a.m. in your car.”
Tina couldn’t fathom trying to navigate another winter on the streets, especially
with an infant. One of Tina’s family members was staying at Family Promise of
Spokane’s Emergency Shelter and recommended that Tina come to Spokane. Tina called Family Promise every day for two weeks until there was space available for her and her family. Tina moved into the organization’s Family Infant House with Don, her baby, and her teenage son in the early fall.
It was here where Tina found a restored sense of hope. “There is a community of people who support you,” she said.
Tina has worked closely with her case manager to identify S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) that have empowered her on a journey towards housing stability.
According to Tina’s case manager, her family has made leaps and bounds since arriving at the Infant House, “ Tina’s growth has been exponential since first coming to us. She is doing anything and everything possible to achieve her goals and create a better life for her children.”
Tina and Don are now both working over 40 hours a week. Tina has been paying off her past landlord debt, saving up money, and is well on her way to moving into a place on her own.
“Family Promise gave me a peaceful place where I could provide stability for me and my kids.”