Lela’s Story: A Home for the Holidays
“There’s no place like home for the holidays,” sings Perry Como. But what about those who don’t have a home? The 2022 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report estimated about 580,000 people were homeless in the United States. Lela, a single mother of two, found herself in that exact situation. After escaping an abusive situation, Lela and her children lived in their car. She bravely shares their story in her own words, reminding us that a home is so much more than four walls and a roof.
From Uncertain to Safe
“I was that person that didn’t really want to reach out,” Lela says.
Lela’s finances weren’t enough to support both her and her two kids after leaving their abusive circumstances. While Lela’s been able to stay with family in the past, that option isn’t currently available to them. The family of three had no other option than to sleep in their car, but they won’t be three for long: Lela’s expecting her third child.
“I’m currently pregnant,” Lela shares, “and [I] was trying to figure out where I was going to go after I gave birth because, at the time, I didn’t really have a place to land.”
As her circumstances grew more dire, Lela knew she needed help. She connected with our partner, CarePortal, who mobilizes local communities to meet urgent needs. Her family immediately found support, resources, and a caring community. The connections she made led her to find a spot at Harvest House, where they have a home all to themselves.
“I know that my kids have a safe place to be every single night,” Lela says. “I know that I have a place where I can make food for them, that I don’t have to worry about whether they’re going to be able to eat that night or not.”
Her two children, a son and a daughter, also love having their very own space.
“The kids are pretty excited that we’ve been in this house because they get their own room,” Lela says with a smile. “It’s something they’ve never really had before. They’ve always had to share. It’s been really nice.”
Thanks to our outstanding partners and generous donors, Lela and her children found a home just in time for the holidays. Not only will they get to spend Thanksgiving together, but they’ll also get to gather around their very own kitchen table.
Home Means Hope
While Lela and her family will have a warm place to call home, this won’t be the case for many. Out of all homeless individuals in the United States, over 161,000 are families. This number includes children. In addition, about 30,000 are unaccompanied youth.
Some vulnerable families do have a place to call home, but the holidays can be traumatic for them, as well. Child Protective Services receives more calls on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas than it does at any other time of the year.
This year, let’s make it a priority to uplift those who would love nothing more than a seat at the table. Donate today to help more vulnerable children and families find a home for the holidays.