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Holding hope in the future

Twelve years ago, Ngozi and her husband were in search of a safe environment where they could raise their family.  The couple and their son, Sola, and daughter Sade, settled down in Auburn and were living modest but stable lives. But the marriage crumbled, leaving Ngozi financially devastated, and in a battle to keep her children.

Her life became even more complicated when a new relationship ended as quickly as it began, and she was expecting baby Daniel. The 37-year-old had no choice but to move to a shelter with her baby, where they lived for nine months, while her older children live in Lynnwood with her ex-husband.

“If it was just me, it wouldn’t have been so bad, but it is so difficult to be homeless and have a child,” Ngozi says. “It seemed like everyone in the shelter was sick. Daniel got sick often, and caught pneumonia and almost died.”

Just finding a safe place to pass the time was hard.

“We would go to malls and they [the security guards] wouldn’t want us to sit inside where we were getting warm, so we couldn’t stay very long and would have to keep moving along.”

And it’s this ability to deal with whatever comes her way that has helped her remain hopeful.

Munira Farah, a Housing Case Manager with Neighborhood House’s Housing Stability program, says Ngozi is a fighter, but she’s also a humble and hard-working single mother.

“She always pushed through her struggles, even when she felt like she was being defeated,” Munira says. “She always did her best for her children and never lost hope, and has shown such resiliency that her story will always resonate with me.”

With no resources and little income, Ngozi needed help with shelter and transportation so she could visit her two older children in Lynnwood. The round-trip took her about four hours by bus, but with a boost from Neighborhood House, she says "my son Daniel and I have our own apartment. But I miss the day-to-day contact with Sola and Sade. I know they need their mother – they’re sad because we don’t see each other very often.”

She’s proud to be making her own car payments now and is looking forward to reuniting with Sola and Sade so that they can all live together. She also has plans to return to school to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). For now, the trip from Auburn to Lynnwood to is much easier, as are trips to the store and taking Daniel to see the doctor. 

“People need to learn to be patient,” she says. “We all need to be nice to others, and to never turn our backs on one another.”