Homeless family shares struggles of sleeping in car

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A young family struggling to make ends meet came to Arizona to start over. Unfortunately, when they arrived all the family shelters were full, forcing them to sleep in their car.

Bethany Grieves remembers the night well.

"It was not that comfortable, you know, but you were happy to have a roof over your head," she said.

Bethany, Phillip and their two sons, Daniel and David, never dreamed they would end up sleeping in their car.

"I wasn't quite sure what we were going to do," Bethany said. "It was a very hopeless feeling."

Daniel remembers what it was like that July night, making the front seat his bed. "It was hot and musty."

Being homeless was new for the Grieves family. Bethany had been a nurse, Phillip was a teacher, but when they both ended up unemployed, "We were just overconfident and we had not saved enough money," Bethany explained.

The family drove from Missouri to Arizona hearing there was space at a family shelter, only to discover the last spot had been taken.

"I just started crying," Bethany said. "I cried all the way through the soup line."

Phillip couldn't believe it.

"There was that moment of just really sadness," he said.

Fortunately, they found Family Promise, which is a program providing temporary help for homeless families.

"There's that time when you are on a waiting list and you're in your car sleeping, what do you do?" said Lish Hammer, a development specialist with Family Promise.

"We give them the services and the help that they need because that's no way for a child to live, it's no way for anyone to live," Hammer said.

Family Promise has teamed up with The Company Store for a Buy One, Get One event. For every comforter purchased, one is donated.

"If you're sleeping on a cold, hard floor, that comforter means a lot, especially to the kids," Hammer said.

The Grieves family is slowly getting back on track. Phillip is back teaching, making enough money to afford an apartment, but they're much more frugal.

Daniel and David look back on the hard times and can smile.

"It wasn't so bad, really," Daniel said. "I think it was worse for Mom and Dad because you know kids."

Phillip and Bethany will never forget how Family Promise changed their lives.

"I'll always look at that and be blown away by that," Phillip said. "It's something that you'll carry with you and it makes the world worth living."

The Buy One, Get One event ends on March 31. For more information, visit www.thecompanystore.com.

Family Promise-Greater Phoenix
7221 E. Belleview St.
Scottsdale, AZ 85257