At the end of last school year, nearly 300 students in the Bellevue School District were experiencing homelessness. That means nearly 300 students sleeping in cars or in shelters, living in garages or other spaces not meant for habitation, squeezing into tiny apartments shared by multiple families or spending their nights unsheltered and unsafe. This number is shocking for any community, but especially for one with Bellevue’s wealth of resources. So how do we reduce this number? Bellevue LifeSpring believes that the first and best way to ensure that our students are housed is to prevent them from losing their homes in the first place.
Since July 1, Bellevue LifeSpring has helped 148 individuals stay safe, stable and sheltered through our rent assistance program. Of these, more than two thirds have been households headed by single mothers. These families are especially vulnerable because they rely on one paycheck to make ends meet. Single parent households are also more likely to face challenges with childcare, which can be expensive and limit the hours they’re able to work.
“Transitioning out of homelessness is incredibly difficult. For families on the cusp of losing their home due to one bad financial month, Bellevue LifeSpring can make all the difference by helping a family avoid eviction one time. The importance of this kind of help for our families cannot be overstated.” – Dr. Ivan Duran, Superintendent of the Bellevue School District
Jess, a single mom, was working at a Montessori school in Seattle. Last year, her sister Kayla was able to provide some support with childcare. When Kayla was no longer able to care for the kids, Jess got a job at a casino with a shorter commute and more flexibility so she could focus on childcare and therapy appointments for her daughter with special needs. Unfortunately, she couldn’t work many hours during the month of December during her transition.
Jess is working on accessing low-cost childcare resources now. Eventually, she hopes to find work as a para-educator in a nearby school district but right now, she just wants stability for their family.
Because of your support, Bellevue LifeSpring was able to provide Jess with her December rent payment, allowing her to keep her family housed while she works to get back on her feet. Your generosity also helped to provide her with food and other household items from our pantry to ensure her children have access to basic needs during this difficult time. Thanks to you, Jess and her children are still on a pathway out of poverty.