Stories That Light the Way: Amanda
The Oak Knoll committee supporting Beacon Housing wants to keep the congregation informed on issues involving affordable housing. The following is an article about one family's story.
The following story was shared by Amanda, a Beacon resident, at the Light the Way Home fundraiser in November of 2022. It has been republished by Beacon with her permission.
My name is Amanda and Beacon helped light my way home. I became homeless after living in dangerous, unsafe neighborhoods that you could only imagine. You’ve probably seen neighborhoods like these on TV. Filled with violence and danger.
One story that stands out is when I brought my kids trick or treating at a church event. It must have been 2016. We had taken the bus, since I didn’t have a car at the time. It was cold that year, and I had three young kids. I was pushing a stroller with my boys walking alongside me. We were on the way and getting off the bus when we were caught in a shootout. I made my oldest son run in front of the stroller. It was terrifying, but we made it home and locked ourselves inside to keep safe.
I spent five years moving around. When you receive assistance to pay for your rent, your landlords have to pass inspections. That is a good thing. But each time I rented somewhere that failed inspection, which happened multiple times, I’d be displaced and left scrambling, looking for a new apartment while staying in my car, or in a hotel with my kids.
I knew last year that I’ve had enough and that something needed to change. My family and I moved to Minnesota this year, searching for a piece of stability and a place to call home. It was scary. I didn’t know what was in store for me and my kids. After moving a total of three states in the last twelve months, I was exhausted. But I knew I couldn’t give up. Coming to Minnesota had to be the last stop.
When we arrived in Minnesota, we didn’t immediately find a stable home. We spent three and a half months in a shelter and lived in a two-bedroom apartment with eight kids and four other adults. But in June, I finally got the dream call we had been seeking for over a year and a half: That I had been approved and could move in the next day to our new home!
Having our own place is like winning the mega jackpot. Having a beautiful and safe space to call home for the holidays is more than I could ever imagine. Creating new family memories and building a stronger bond for years to come has been the best moments in our lives.
This Halloween, unlike the last one I described, my kids had a completely different experience. We all went trick or treating in our new community. We got to meet our neighbors. I introduced my family and let them know that we were part of the community. My kids got bags full of candy. My son’s bag broke because it was so full.
I’m sure you can imagine their joy and mine at seeing them create this memory in their new neighborhood. They got to just be kids this Halloween – with no worries about if they were safe or where they’d be sleeping that night.
The need for more affordable housing in communities such as the one I live in is very important because it gives single parents like myself the opportunity we may not have otherwise had to raise our children in this life-changing environment. My kids are now receiving their education from one of the top school districts in the state. Just imagine how life changing that will be for them! By being in my own home my kids are stable. They are playing sports and focusing on school.
I also have the chance to start my dreams and aspirations of being a Black single mother and entrepreneur. I’ve always wanted to start my own cleaning service and now I’m working towards that dream.
My new home and the stability it offers me as a single mother has given me the green light to say, “go for your dreams!” Thank you for allowing me to share my story and for helping me find a way to hope and to dream.