Tiera’s mom drove for hours looking for a safe place to park. Their family had just lost their Section 8 housing benefits, and even though Tiera had a great job, it wasn’t enough. Unable to keep up with the rent on their own, they found themselves homeless.
In the middle of the night, they found a spot behind a Walmart. Tiera remembers the pain of that night: “Me and my mom just cried and felt so hopeless and lost.” That night was uncomfortable and sleepless with a 1-year-old, 2 adults and 2 teens trying to live in a car. “I still had to go to work,” says Tiera. “I was tired and exhausted.” The next morning, she went inside Walmart to wash up and get ready for work.
Tiera knew she couldn’t live this way for long. Finding out she was pregnant again made her search desperately until she found the Orange County Rescue Mission.
Chris and Tiera had separated just weeks before. Chris’s battle with addiction had finally torn them apart. Chris struggled with maintaining a job and paying rent. He tried living with family and friends, but without work it was impossible to keep a roof over his head and eat.
So Chris hit the streets. During the day, he tried to blend in on a college campus, sleeping in the corner of the library and finding change to eat from the dollar menu at a fastfood restaurant.
On cold nights, he filled water bottles with hot water to keep him warm but the warmth didn’t last long.
Breaking down walls
Tiera had been at the Mission for six months. And though she was grateful for the program and the care she and daughter Kylah received, the closer she got to delivering their baby, the more she missed Chris.
“I had rededicated my life to the Lord and realized I hadn’t given up everything to God,” says Tiera.
“Everything was always on my terms. I finally let go and asked God ‘Your will be done’ and that’s when I gave Chris up to the Lord.”
Tiera had no idea what was happening in Chris’s life. She hadn’t seen him in seven months. Across town, haggard, broken and finally sober, Chris decided he needed help. He was done sleeping on the streets.
Rebuilding a home
Chris called Tiera hoping for another chance. Once she said yes, things started moving quickly. Over the next four days, Chris applied for — and was accepted — into the Village of Hope. He and Tiera then got married and moved into one of our family rooms to begin their new life together.
Through counseling and support, Chris and Tiera are becoming a family and rebuilding broken relationships. And Chris is celebrating 9 months of sobriety.
“I thank God for giving me the man I always wanted to marry,” says Tiera. “We had to go through all of this to appreciate where we are now. Praying together, doing Bible studies together, seeing the father Chris is to our children has been so awesome!”
“You have no idea how many families and lives you are saving by donating,” says Chris. “Without your help, whether it’s $5 or diapers, it goes to families who really need it. The Rescue Mission is getting families back together. Kids reuniting with their parents. Men back out there employed. We are able to give our testimony and be grateful for it.”