‘A better life is possible:’ Everett staff help family of 6 out of homelessness
LCSNW’s three regional Community Resource Centers are warm, welcoming places that help low-income individuals and families get on their feet when they are struggling to meet life’s basic needs. At CRCs in Everett, SeaTac and Port Angeles, they can find help with housing, food, job search, mental health services, utilities and so much more.
Our staff see people in challenging situations, but few are as complex and serious as the family who recently came to the Everett CRC.
Three young women who are sisters, each with a child, found their way to the center, hungry, sleep-deprived and disoriented. Their children are 5 years, 4 years, and 7 months old. They fled Mexico and are seeking asylum to escape domestic violence and cartel activity. A woman they knew had told them to come to Everett and she would help them start a new life. But when they arrived, the woman didn’t answer their repeated calls.
The first night they slept at the airport. The next two nights they huddled under bushes in a public park. Their days were spent riding public buses trying to find anyone who could help.
When they arrived at the Everett CRC, the team jumped into action. The sisters were grateful that several staff spoke Spanish. Program Coordinator Yolanda Estrella addressed the most urgent needs first: food and clothing.
The Housing team immediately started looking for shelter. The CRC team found a motel for one night with the little money the women had.
Melanie Curtis did their intake into the county’s housing system and fellow Resource Navigator Lori Morgan contacted every shelter she knew in the area. They found one available room that was too small for six people.
On their second day, Yolanda brought baby clothes and a stroller from home. She started on the long list of family needs: medical, DSHS, immigration, legal assistance, school for the kids, baby supplies, and more. Yolanda said her training and experience in trauma-informed care were helpful.
Lori and Melanie currently have a total of 274 families who need housing. A more standard caseload would be 70 clients per Resource Navigator.
The demand in Snohomish County is so high that county officials recently approached LCSNW to hire two more Navigators, doubling the size of the Housing staff. The County agreed to pay for the new positions.
For Yolanda, assisting the three sisters and their children is a blessing. “Situations like this really give me the opportunity to serve and give hope to the clients. It’s hard to hear these stories, but I don’t ever want to lose hope that a better life is possible for everyone we help.”