Housing gives Hope to homeless

By Steve Powell

spowell@marysvilleglobe.com

LAKEWOOD – Kendra Lux is thankful that she’s five months clean after being addicted to meth off and on for 16 years.

She’s thankful that Children’s Protective Services intervened, forcing her to get better so she can get her 10-year-old son back.

And she’s thankful that Housing Hope’s Twin Lakes Landing development will provide a home for her and her son.

When Twin Lakes Landing opens in early December, it will provide 50 homeless and low-income families with a roof over their heads.

One will be 30-year-old Kendra. She said started on drugs when she was 14, trying to “numb my feelings.” She lost her twin brother at age 6, and she never was able to deal with that. She dropped out of school in Snohomish in the 10th grade.

When her son was born, she stayed clean for 4 1/2 years.

“I was ready for a new life. I did it on my own,” she said, adding she earned her GED while living with her mom. But then a person she was a caregiver for died.

“It caught me off-guard. I relapsed. When a death occurs I run to my meth pipe,” she said. Kendra now is living at the Women’s Gospel Mission in Monroe. “If it wasn’t for this place, I’d probably be doing what I used to do,” she said.

Kendra said there is a lot of structure there, with a support system of 18 women, many of whom have had similar struggles. “Basically we are all getting our lives back together,” she said.

Kendra said she is working hard in family drug court and getting ready to leave the mission.

“I’ve mentally prepared myself to be on my own again,” she said. “I won’t have the safety bubble.”

She said she feels good about her recovery. “I’ve honestly never felt better in my whole life,” she said, adding the counseling and support meetings each week help.

The No. 1 thing, she said, is she’s going back to church, at Monroe Baptist. “I’m closer, back with God,” she said.

Kendra advises anyone with an addiction problem to reach out for help. “Recovery and staying clean is completely different,” she said. “I have all the help in the world right now.”

All it took was a call to 2-1-1, the social services emergency number. A housing navigator met with her, and she found out she was able to be part of Project Reunited. “Housing Hope is giving me a second chance to build my life again,” she said. “Without it I would still be homeless. And it gives me a chance to get my son back.”

Kendra’s story is one of 50 similar ones at Twin Lakes Landing, which has 38 units for the homeless and 12 for low-income families.

They are all from the local community.

“There’s a need here” for such housing, said Sara Wilson, marketing manager for Housing Hope. “They are families that live just down the street,” who can now stay at the same schools and churches.

Wilson said Kendra and the other residents will still be able to get support. “There’s a team that cares about you,” she said.

Housing Hope will offer classes on site – not only for residents, but also anyone who has need in north Snohomish County.

Residents who have jobs pay a portion of what they make for rent. But most of the funding comes from the federal government, grants and donations, Wilson said, adding it has diverse funding sources. Jana Phillips, who is on the north county board for Housing Hope, said, “There’s not enough affordable housing” in the area. “This is just what we need.”

While they are always looking for land for similar projects, Wilson said right now they are focused in this area on Team Homebuilding, a sweat-equity program similar to Habitat for Humanity’s.

Housing Hope was hoping to open Nov. 17, but there have been some construction delays. But they should be able to move in soon.

“The goal is to get them in” even if everything is not completely done, Wilson said.

She said excited residents have been driving by to see what their houses look like. One resident wanted to see the carpet because she was going to try to find some furniture.

Wilson is excited for them to get into their homes, too.

“Right now they are either on the streets or in a shelter,” she said.

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