Johnson Family Story
We knew we had God on our side and we never gave up on our faith.
In the warmth of mid-summer, with a five-room house to call her own, the winter Kiara* spent in her vehicle with her husband and four children is still vivid in her mind. Recalling those days is painful, but only makes her more aware of the unconditional love, support and encouragement her family found at the Pathway Home shelter program.
Kiara’s husband, Will, ran his own construction business for several years, until the weak economy forced him to shut it down and work for other contractors.
“We couldn’t keep up with the bills,” Kiara admitted. The family was evicted from the home in Kentwood they had built memories in for seven years. After months of living out of their van and calling various agencies, they found the help they needed.
“We called the Salvation Army and they put us in touch with Pathway Home at Mel Trotter,” Kiara told us. When they arrived, Kiara was surprised to find that hers was one of many families experiencing homelessness. “It was quite eye-opening for me.”
Right away, the Johnson family was put on a track to find housing. “They helped us fill out the application. They gave us housing leads. They helped with credit.”
In the meantime, Kiara’s husband continued to work and their four children, ages 3 to 14, were well cared for. “It was fun,” Kiara’s son Anthony chimed in. “Almost every day after dinner, we went outside to play basketball.” The children enjoyed outings, reading books from our Kid’s Korner library and even helping out in the kitchen, cleaning and making cookies.
Anthony shared the family’s key to adjusting to the big changes in their lives: “We knew we had God on our side and we never gave up on our faith.” Kiara added that prayer got them through the toughest times. “I just wanted my kids to stay positive, continue to grow and keep to their schedules.”
Kiara's prayers for her family were answered when they were placed in their new home. Looking ahead, Kiara plans to finish her education in medical coding so she can help with expenses and keep her family’s new life on track. Kiara offered some advice for other struggling families. “Don’t be too proud to ask for help. You have to be willing to do whatever you have to do to get out of the situation—and think positive.”
*Names have been changed for privacy and the family is not pictured.