Lifestyle

FUSION helps mother and son escape homelessness

FUSION volunteers Peggy LaPorte, Pat Chesebro and Dee Askew tidy up the charity’s newest fully furnished three-bedroom housing unit on July 12 in Federal Way. A family of four moved in the next day. - Andy Hobbs/Federal Way Mirror
FUSION volunteers Peggy LaPorte, Pat Chesebro and Dee Askew tidy up the charity’s newest fully furnished three-bedroom housing unit on July 12 in Federal Way. A family of four moved in the next day.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/Federal Way Mirror

By the end of December 2011, Brittany and her 3-year-old son were homeless.

She had never been homeless before, and finding shelter was a daily chore. On two nights, Brittany and the child slept in her car.

In the shelters, she stayed on guard while sharing close quarters with strangers and shady people. A prison record kept her from finding stable housing.

“I must have filled out 200 applications,” said Brittany, 23, who asked that her last name be withheld. “I felt like I was going to be stuck for a while.”

She was released from prison in 2010, following an 18-month sentence for non-violent drug and gun charges. Brittany vowed to change her reckless ways and get her life back together for the sake of her son.

The stability she sought was short-lived. Brittany ended up in an environment rife with domestic violence, and her life spiraled into homelessness.

Through state assistance, the pieces began coming together as Brittany launched the long journey toward self-sufficient living. She entered a pre-apprenticeship program, joined the ironworkers union, and began learning a trade.

On May 7, Brittany and her son moved into a FUSION housing unit in Federal Way. FUSION has 16 units in Federal Way and Northeast Tacoma for families in similar situations as Brittany.

The first night in their home, Brittany and her son camped on the bedroom floor, then fixed breakfast when they woke up. The stress of finding a place to sleep had disappeared.

“I’ve seen him relax over the last few months,” she said of her son, “and I’m able to fix dinner at night.”

After nearly six months of rough living, the FUSION home has lifted a burden off Brittany and her son. It’s a sharp contrast from the crowded and unpredictable homeless shelters.

“I have this mentality to keep on moving forward,” she said. “I believe I really beat the odds of where I was supposed to be.”

Check it out: Fundraiser

Friends United to Shelter the Indigent, Oppressed and Needy (FUSION) will hold a Moulin Rouge theme art soiree from 3 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, at the Dumas Bay Centre in Federal Way.

Capturing the fun and romance of turn-of-the-century Paris, the event will feature an art walk, entertainment, live and silent auctions, and raffle for a seven-day ocean cruise for two. Catered appetizers, wine, beer and espresso will be served.

Tickets are $60 at www.fusionfederalway.org or by calling (253) 839-5212. Tickets at the door are $70. Proceeds benefit FUSION’s transitional housing program. The goal this year is to raise $125,000.

 

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