From Hero to Homeless
When Demond’s family was evicted, you helped put them back on their feet
Time before the coronavirus crisis seems like a world away. But Demond remembers. It was January when his world was turned upside down – just for giving someone a second chance.
“This kid decided he’d try to break into my house. Y’know, I’ve done things in my past that I’m not proud of. You don’t always realize the trouble you get yourself into doing something stupid like that, so I let him go.”
Demond was repaid for his kindness the next day when the young man returned, with three others in tow. Ready to defend his family, Demond pulled a firearm, and, thankfully, the would-be assailants ran off.
In his neighbor’s eyes, he was a hero. But his landlord didn’t see it that way. Just 48 hours later, Demond and his family of 13 were out on the street.
“It was a shock,” Demond remembers. “Everyone around us was telling me ‘Good Job!’ and ‘Thank you!’ I thought I was going to get some kind of reward. Even the sheriff’s office told me I did the right thing. Now I wonder if I should have just let them rob us. Then my family wouldn’t be in this predicament.”
Demond had just moved to Tucson from Wisconsin to get away from the cold winters and to give his kids a chance to grow up in a better neighborhood. He and his wife April have a large family with 11 kids, ranging from 5 months to 15 years.
As if 11 weren’t enough, they also opened their family to two more children who were facing foster care. “We also have two kids who were removed from my sister-in-law’s home. The littlest had broken ribs, arms, legs… we couldn’t let them go stay with strangers. I used to be in foster care, so I said, ‘Y’know what? We’re not in the best situation, but we’re not starving either, so we can take them in.’” He and April had just welcomed a brand-new addition to the family when they got the devastating news.
“We called every place in the city looking for help. No one could take us because our family was so big. It looked like we might have to drive back to the ghetto in Wisconsin.”
Then they got a call back from Gospel Rescue Mission.
“They told us, ‘Come on in, we’ve got you!’ And I was so happy and thankful they did. It’s good to know that there are places out there that actually care and help people when they need it.”
It’s your support that allowed us to welcome in Demond’s family off the street. We were able to keep his family intact and safe while they worked on getting back on their feet.
“I can’t lie,” said Demond. “The whole ordeal has been discouraging. It’s easy to lose hope. But if you lose hope you lose everything. You can’t give up on God.”
Your partnership is giving this family the space they need to pick up the pieces. Slowly but surely, Demond and his family are working on realizing their dream, despite their circumstances.
“Our goal before all of this was to get a house. We’ve been saving and the bank has basically said yes; we’ve just got to fix two things on our credit and we’re set,” Demond says with a big smile.
For now, Demond travels to work every day at AAA, while his wife takes online classes in pursuit of a degree in Computer Science. Demond’s just glad that his family is safe and that they have a path forward.
You helped make that happen – right when this family needed it most.
“This place has been a blessing. They didn’t have to let us stay, but they did. And it changed everything.”