Homeless family struggles to survive

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Most families take for granted they'll never be homeless, but it happens. One local family now staying at a local motel never imagined they would need the kindness of strangers to avoid living on the streets.

David Sims, his wife and two daughters lived at a house at 205 Holmes Street until they got behind on the rent and were evicted a couple of weeks ago. A local business woman let them stay in her office for three days, and then several churches put them up in a local motel a week ago. For David, it's humiliating. "We watched all out stuff be put to the street. I mean my kids had bunk beds that weren't even seven months old. We had a bed that wasn't even eight months old."

In this corner of the motel room is everything they have left in the world. Their furniture, most of their belongings and even the children's bicycles were put out when they were evicted. It's hard for sim's wife Raquel Charles. "I wish we could get some kind of assistance as far as permanent housing so the kids wouldn't have to be in this predicament."

The little girls meals consist mostly of free breakfast at the motel. Angel is four years old, Destiny is nine. "We haven't had nothing to eat but we ate a few things here and there. We ate breakfast and stuff," says Destiny. Reporter: What is it that you left behind that you really wish you could have back.  Destiny speaks softly.  "A lot of my clothes and shoes and bikes and the air conditioners."  Her dad has to leave the room, unable to bear hearing his child talk about the experience.

Her mom says Destiny's a banner roll student. Both girls look forward to school starting, despite their uncertain future. Says Destiny, "I like the teachers and some of the stuff they have over there."  Even little Angel is excited.  "I want to go to school and play."

Yet the parents say the new school uniforms are among the items lost in the eviction. David says he's a certified nursing assistant but lost his job and has been doing odd jobs to help the family survive. They have no car but David says willing to walk or take a bus to work. "Take a bus or walk, it really doesn't matter. I'd just like to get my family situated and get back to work because I'm used to working 14, 15 hours a day. I'm a certified tech, certified nursing assistant. I've been taking care of the folks for seventeen years. My patients are wheelchair patients, bedridden patients, wheelchair bound patients."

And so they say their prayers and try to be hopeful. "The only thing I pray is that my children, my little girls and my wife keep something in their stomachs. That's all that matters to me. 'cause I"ll go two or three days without eating. I'll go forever without eating as long as they get the first bite."

It may be August, but as only a child would, Angel is dreaming of Christmas. "If you be good you're going to get some presents from Santa Claus."

Parish housing officials admit there is no safety net in this community for families who suddenly find themselves without a place to live. Calcasieu Parish and Lake Charles housing officials are trying to help this family find a place to live.

Anyone who wishes to help them can find them at Treasure Inn Room 115 until Monday morning at check out time.  The phone number is 721-8001 Room 115.