Before coming to St. Stephen Housing, Jacob and Lanee had been homeless for about a year. They had been renting a run down apartment in Lakewood in a high crime area that wasn’t safe for their two young daughters, Jamiah and J’onna, to play outside alone. “They couldn’t even go outside to play, not to mention, at a place we could barely afford,” Lanee said. Lanee unexpectedly lost her job and Jacob didn’t earn enough at his job to afford the rent. Once they left the apartment, they bounced around the Seattle area until finally getting a shelter referral for the YWCA in the Central District. The girls were still enrolled in school in Tacoma. “It was the only normal routine they really had and we wanted to keep that stability for them. We were in the shelter in Seattle and they were taking a taxi or getting a ride all the way to Tacoma,” explains Jacob. That left the family with another challenge, finding work that accommodated the girls’ extra long route to school since Lanee held a job in South Seattle and Jacob picked up odd jobs all over the area. Jacob has had custody of his two young daughters since birth, but due to a mix up, has also been paying monthly child support for the last 5 years. “I don’t really know how to navigate stuff like that, and I kind of just gave up on getting anywhere with them, so it was just another process in another system that was getting ahead of me,” said Jacob. Since moving into our program in May 2020, the family has finally found some stability. “It’s kind of nice to be able to sit down and hash some stuff out, like having housing has been able to help us overcome the past and look forward to not having to worry about being homeless again,” he said. Lanee and Jacob welcomed a healthy new baby girl, Jayda, to their family in July. They are both working on continuing their education and getting back to work. “It’s been nice having a place for the kids to be, the baby to come home to, and our family to be together, working on the things that we need to do to move forward. But,” he said laughing, “I’m kind of ready to get back to work; this homeschooling isn’t easy at all!”