lisa & kyle's story:
Before a run of misfortune plunged
them into homelessness, Lisa Jacobs and Kyle Gould were building a good life for their family of five.
They had a nice, two-bedroom apartment in Renton. He earned $17 an hour as a machine operator at a meat-packing plant. She was in school to earn her certification as a medical assistant. And Lisa’s two daughters attended a private cooperative preschool, where Lisa volunteered every day.
They lived paycheck to paycheck, but they could still eat the occasional dinner out, buy the girls new shoes, and save a little money.
Then, between October 2007 and August 2008, their tenuous stability hit the skids. Their new car was totaled in a non-injury, head-on accident. Kyle lost his job. They suffered through a failed shared living arrangement with Kyle’s sister. Stress and sickness took their toll on the family. And the economy was going from bad to worse.
To survive, Lisa and Kyle took jobs at a fast-food restaurant, stayed with friends and family, and did everything they could to maintain a routine for the children: daughters, Jourdan, 9, and Hayleyannah, 8, and son, Skyler 3
“As a parent, you feel like you’re letting your kids down,” says Lisa, whose own parents had been homeless for a time when she was 12.
For nearly a year, the family found emergency shelter through relief organizations, but were forced to move when their three- to six-month stays were up.
Meanwhile, Lisa and Kyle both searched for better employment, but jobs were in short supply – even for someone with medical assistance training. (Through all the turmoil, Lisa managed to graduate with flying colors from Everest College.)
Finally, with only days left before they’d have to find another place to live, the family was referred to YWCA Family Village in Redmond, which provides up to 18 months of temporary housing as well as support services to those who need help getting back on their feet.
Lisa, Kyle and the kids moved into a clean, fully stocked three-bedroom unit that they’re proud to call home. The couple also is receiving help from a YWCA family support specialist with budgeting and goal setting. “We have the building blocks,” Lisa says.
Lisa is now earning a much better salary in the bakery department at QFC, and Kyle has applied to Renton Technical College to advance his employment skills. The children are healthy and happy.
“The YWCA has given us some stability and the chance to get our lives back,” Lisa says. “Now we can concentrate on moving forward.”