Shawn, Shannon and Leland (9 years old) entered New Directions Shelter on October 22, 2019, just 28 days after moving to Des Moines. Prior to moving to Des Moines, the family had not had safe, stable housing for over 10 years. They had most recently been living in a converted garage in the mountains of the state of Washington for one and a half years that had no running water, however, it did have heat and electricity. Prior to that, they were able to receive shelter at the hotel where they were working, but every penny they made went towards paying for their room. After paying their living costs, they were left with no money to get ahead or make progress towards their financial goals. Prior to that, they had been living in a van, motor homes and homeless camps.

Desperate to change their situation, Shannon made contact with an old family friend here in Des Moines and she suggested that they relocate here so they could help them get back on their feet. Shannon and Shawn packed Leland up and headed to Des Moines. They arrived on September 24, 2019 and stayed in the home of the family friend. Shawn quickly gained employment at a temporary staffing company, Shannon began looking for work and they enrolled Leland in school. After a few weeks of being with the friend, the landlord found out extra people were staying in the unit and they were told to leave. This prompted Shawn and Shannon to complete an intake at Primary Health Care Centralized Intake for emergency shelter. They were placed on the family shelter waiting list and a few days later ended up at New Directions Shelter. Shannon located employment at Hy Vee her first day at the shelter.

Once in shelter, the family utilized case management services and hit the ground running. They were up and out the door early in the morning, taking the bus together to get Leland to school and Shawn would make sure Shannon got to work safely. Shortly after entering shelter, the family was referred to The Home Connection program. They saved every penny they had and were able to pay their deposit on their own. Polk County General Assistance assisted the family with their 1st month’s rent.

Shawn and Shannon were in and out of New Directions Shelter in 21 days after being homeless for years! They switched Leland to a school closer to their new home, and due to him having special needs, they did have concerns that this would all be too much change for him at once. But much to their surprise, Leland is doing awesome and loves his new school and home. Shawn and Shannon have made so much progress in a short amount of time and feel very happy to finally have a home for the holidays. We are so excited to see the progress they will make over the next few years while in The Home Connection program.