Everything I Do, I Do For My Kids

Mechelle Pierce & KW

KW left Florida eight years ago, fleeing an abusive relationship. They walked away with nothing but what would fit in their car. She and her two children (then age 7 and 10) moved to Troy, IL, where they knew people.  KW also left a job as a CNA in a nursing home. Dedicated to stabilizing her family, she quickly found a day shift job in Troy. They were rebuilding their lives. After six years, their apartment was now their home. The boys liked their school, and KW even began advancing her credentials by starting a Certified Med Tech program, so that she could better provide for her children. A year later, everything changed. The nursing home reduced staff, and KW lost her job. With limited nursing homes in Troy, she needed to look for a job farther away. “I was passionate about finding a job,” said KW. “I worked on it constantly, because I had two kids who depended on me. I didn’t want us to be homeless.”

Unfortunately, her hard work was overwhelmed by life. During her search, her car broke down. Without much public transportation, finding a new job became even more difficult. She had been living on her savings. When the money ran out, she was evicted in November 2017. “I arranged for my boys to stay in Troy to finish school,” she explained. “Then I started thinking of where I could stay.” She had heard of DOORWAYS and called to ask about Emergency Housing. “That same day I got into a motel in Troy. I was so relieved and grateful.” But KW knew this was only temporary housing assistance. She needed to find a job, so she again turned to DOORWAYS’ Employment Specialist, Mechelle Pierce. “I was very impressed with KW’s commitment, qualifications, and work experience,” noted Pierce. “I knew she was qualified, but her location had very few opportunities.” Pierce discussed moving KW out of Troy and into St. Louis where more CNA jobs were available. Focused only on putting her life back together for her children, she agreed.  DOORWAYS moved her to emergency housing in Bridgeton in January 2018. Within a few weeks, she had a job. “Mechelle brought me applications and helped me get to places to apply. By the end of January, I was offered a job, which I started February 1.”

KW’s housing allocation ended late February. She then moved into a shelter for five months while she saved enough money for an apartment for her family. “Besides the money, I had a difficult time finding a place to live because I have an eviction. When I lost my job in Troy and used all my savings, I was evicted. Most people won’t rent to you if you have an eviction,” she explained.  DOORWAYS was able to help by connecting KW to a landlord who agreed to rent to her. “All I can say is that DOORWAYS helps people have second chances,” smiled KW.

She moved into her new apartment early July. Her oldest son graduated from high school, and both boys will be back with her soon. They secured three mattresses, so each has a place of their own to sleep. She is still gathering furnishings to make it a home for her family. “We have a sofa, but no dressers yet. I’m looking for shelving and cabinets for the kitchen to have a place to store things and prepare meals for my boys.” Even though her house is minimally equipped, KW is grateful beyond words. “It’s wonderful having a place where I can have my kids, and that we can call home again. Everything I do is to give my boys a better life. It’s a blessing to have this chance to be back together.”

Through support from generous donors, DOORWAYS now celebrates 30 years of service to people in the City of St. Louis and 117 counties in Missouri and Illinois. Last year we provided a new beginning to 3,100 individuals. For more information, contact Karen Carpentier at 314-328-2704 or kcarpentier@doorwayshousing.org.



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