When they fell in love 20 years ago, Christina and Bennie did not plan to raise their family on the streets, on borrowed couches, or in temporary shelters. Her family’s disapproval of her relationship with Bennie triggered her lifelong struggle with major depression, which negatively impacted Christina’s ability to hold a steady job. Bennie’s youthful run-ins with the law didn’t help, either.

Four years ago Christina, Bennie and their two children finally found the solace and support they needed when they moved into an apartment in one of A Community of Friends’ permanent supportive housing complexes. It is the longest time this family has lived together in one place.

For three of the family members, the adjustment was exciting and easy. For 15 year old Kaylee, the adjustment to stable living was more difficult. She refused to unpack what belongings she had — she needed to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice; this is the life she knew. Little by little, Kaylee took a few things out of her bags and boxes, but it was not until this October, exactly four years after moving into their apartment, that Christina was able to throw out Kaylee’s last empty box. They are all finally home.