We love stories of success. Success to us is people in need becoming self-sufficient. Sometimes people fall on hard times and need help getting back on their feet. That’s what The Wheeler House does for moms and their children who find themselves in a housing crisis. Our partner, Giving Hope Inc, recently graduated a mom and her 2 kids from The Wheeler House and have helped her find jobs to support her family and an apartment for them to live.
We sat down with O’Kisa Martin to hear her story.
I left Mississippi to come and live with my sister to seek better educational opportunities for my kids. After an argument with her, she put me out on the street with my babies. I was homeless in a place I had never even been to before. I found out about the shelter, Monsignor King Outreach Center (MKOC), and went to stay there instead of sleeping in my car with my babies.
I have 2 daughters, Tink and Eziyah. Tink (8) went to stay with her daddy in Mississippi until I could find a place, and Eziyah (2) and I stayed here in Texas. I was working for a staffing agency and staying at MKOC when I found out about Ms. Wendy and The Wheeler House. I went in for an appointment, then was approved to move in.
I was homeless in a place I had never even been to before.
I went to Mississippi to get my other daughter back before moving in. While I was at The Wheeler House, I lost my job at the staffing agency because I did not have childcare and could not go to work. The staff at Giving Hope and Serve Denton worked with me through these rough times. They gave my children some Christmas presents that otherwise I would never have been able to afford. As time went on, I made friends with the other ladies, and we watched out for each other as well as helped out with each other’s kiddos.
Finally, I got a good paying job at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center making $18.75 an hour. I also started working at Dollar Tree part-time. I was able to keep paying my car payment and my insurance as well as save and get on my feet. Since I had no family in this state other than the sister that kicked me out, I really had to do things on my own. The Wheeler House gave me that opportunity.
Had it not been for The Wheeler House, I don’t know where I might be.
I will always be so grateful for this program that has allowed me and my girls a safe place to stay and get ourselves together. After 3 months at The Wheeler House, I was ready to get out on my own and face the world. Giving Hope, Inc. was able to assist me in my move and help get me started. I was afraid that I might have trouble finding an apartment because of things back in Mississippi, but I was able to find one that was within my budget.
I moved out of Wheeler in February, and I am still going strong. I still have my apartment, and I still have my job at Wal-Mart as well as a job delivering parts for AutoZone.
My kids are happy, and we have a home. Had it not been for The Wheeler House, I don’t know where I might be. I will always be so grateful for all the agencies who took part in my recovery from homelessness, and I hope that I will get the chance to help out somebody who was in my shoes someday.
— O’Kisa Martin