‘Back on their feet’ at the Family Resource Exchange

On a recent fall day, Gregory and Jamie sat down for a pizza lunch at a Family Resource Exchange event. Their baby, Zedekiah, was adorably dressed as a dinosaur. Their easy-going chatter and smiles belied the enormous challenges they endured the last few months: experiencing homelessness.

They lost their home when Gregory’s mother, with whom they were living, passed away. They couldn’t afford the payments themselves. That forced them to live out of their Honda Accord with Gregory’s stepmother. Think about it-4 people, including a baby under the age of one, living in a four-door car for weeks. Then the breaks failed on their makeshift home. When they couldn’t afford to replace them, they lost their car, too.

United Way met the family at the Family Resource Exchange, a pop-up resource event that connects families to housing and provides other critical resources and services, like on-the-spot job interviews, haircuts, new shoes and a food bank. There, Jamie and Gregory secured ORCA bus cards and enrolled in a federally-funded temporary assistance program. While the family is no longer homeless—a United Way partner secured an apartment for them in a Seattle suburb—they still face a future filled with uncertainty: Gregory can’t apply for jobs as a roofer until he gets a third surgery he desperately needs.

Relieved and thankful they now have a place to call home, Jamie and Gregory believe that good things are just on the horizon. As they look for stability for their family, they’re grateful for the support at Family Resource Exchange.  “All the services we were offered were awesome,” said Gregory. “They help anybody get back on their feet.”

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