We Lost Our Home And Our Independence
In August of 2018, Becky and her two children lost their home. “When my husband left, we lost our house. We lost our insurance. We lost our independence. My kids are suffering but we’ll come out of this. It’s just hard right now. It’s just a little difficult to take care of two kids and yourself when you don't have anything.” Becky says she has an income as the caretaker for her son who is a paraplegic, but she may have lost that benefit this month due to being homeless. “It’s going to get a lot harder now. We had a little money, but now we’re down to pennies.” Struggling to Find Shelter For more than two weeks, Becky and her family have been relying on help from friends and the generosity of strangers who have been paying for their motel room. Becky says she went to the Salvation Army on a recent Friday but the person who handles her type of situation wasn’t there, so she returned the following Monday. “I went back on that Monday and we were talking. They were really trying to help me. They were helping me look for houses. They got me a couple of them, but one of them was too small and the other one just, well actually it was small too. The rooms were too small. My son is a paraplegic, so he has a lot of equipment, so we have to have room.”
Struggling to Find Shelter
For more than two weeks, Becky and her family have been relying on help from friends and the generosity of strangers who have been paying for their motel room. Becky says she went to the Salvation Army on a recent Friday but the person who handles her type of situation wasn’t there, so she returned the following Monday. “I went back on that Monday and we were talking. They were really trying to help me. They were helping me look for houses. They got me a couple of them, but one of them was too small and the other one just, well actually it was small too. The rooms were too small. My son is a paraplegic, so he has a lot of equipment, so we have to have room.”
Funding Shortages are Commonplace
Meanwhile, Becky’s son was hospitalized on Thanksgiving. She learned that same week that the Salvation Army ran out of the funds they planned to provide her if she could find a rental house. Becky says she was running around trying to get life-saving medicine for her son while trying to find a house to lease or rent. “At the end of the week, my son was in the hospital because he had an infection and he had no medicine. I was running around trying to find something that we couldn't find. And I went back to Salvation Army and they said that they were out of funds, but when they got them they would call.”
Short stay at the Welcome Inn
Running out of money and options, Becky found what she saw as a bargain, the Welcome Inn in Quincy. “I’m running out of money, so I tried to go the cheap way. I went down to the Welcome Inn and tried to get a room for us and I went ahead and paid them before I looked at the rooms. It wasn't very nice. It wasn't very pleasant. First of all, before you get to the elevator, there was trash everywhere. Get to the room and it's just disgusting. It's just disgusting. It was just dirty, filthy, nasty. I started to pick up things, but then I decided to go get some gloves and as I went outside the manager or whoever he was I turned to him and I asked him if I could use a broom and he said, "No, we don't let people use our brooms because we never get them back." And I looked at him, I'm like, "Really? You're going to tell somebody who just paid you for a week that they can't use a broom?" Becky’s son, who is paraplegic, and has other medical complications, cannot possibly stay in a room, with black mold, a cockroach infestation, and general filth.
These pictures depict the filth, black mold, and cockroach infestation Becky said she found when she entered the room she paid for at the Welcome Inn in Quincy.
“So I left and went and bought me a broom and cleaning supplies and I went in there for three and a half hours and cleaned just one area. And I called my friend, Jennifer, and had her come take pictures because I just couldn't take it. So, I decided I was going to sit down for a minute and roaches fell from the ceiling. That’s all it took. I was out the door. Went down and asked for our money. And he said, "No, we don't have it. There's no refund." So this is where we're at.” I'm out $350 and I have two kids I have to support."
Shortages of Emergency Funds are Commonplace
"On Monday, Nov. 26th, I went back to Salvation Army to see if they could help me with the house still and asked them if they had found any. They hadn't found any and I hadn't found any. She told me at that time that there was no more funds but that she would call me as soon as there was funds.”
Many Requirements Create Barriers For Help in Emergency Situations
Becky sought help from several other agencies with varied results. “I went to Two Rivers and they told me that they could help me too, but I had to get some birth certificates and Social Security cards.” It’s now Dec. 5, 2018, and Becky and her family have received no help with lodging from social service agencies in Quincy.
Medical and Housing Solutions are Still out of Reach
“My son, Skyler, on Thanksgiving, I took him in because I thought he broke his foot. He didn't break his foot. He had an infection and a UTI (urinary tract infection) and he didn't have medicine so therefore he was running fevers and having seizures or passing out. So he went in, we got into the emergency room and he flatlined. They called code blue on him because he quit breathing. I'm sorry. Oh, my God,” Becky sobbed.
Sitting on the edge of the motel room bed, Becky breaks down in tears, “He just got out of the hospital today and here we are. Sorry, my son is a paraplegic and it takes us a minute to do things. It's a task from day-to-day for both of them. Right now, we just do day-by-day because we don't know what's next. I'm sorry boys. I just need help for my boys right now.”