MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - It's a situation you hope never happens.
“In January of 2015, I actually lost my job.”
Renee Williams, a mother of two, couldn't pay the bills.
“I was just so lost and broken. I didn’t know what to do next,” she said.
Eventually, she couldn't afford her rent.
“I remember my son would always ask ‘Mom, where are we sleeping tonight? Are we staying in a motel?”
They ended up in a homeless shelter, because with no car, the other option was sleeping on the streets, and she didn't want people to know they were homeless.
“We call it the invisible population because people say, ‘Well where are these families?’ They’re not going to be the guy on the side of the street holding a sign,” said Nicky Stevens, the chief programs officer at Save the Family.
Save the Family is a foundation that helps families like the Williams’ find transitional housing in hopes of getting parents back on their feet.
But they said the number of families that are coming to them each week has skyrocketed this year.
“We’re seeing about 50 families that fall into homelessness every single week,” said Stevens.
She said the main problem is affordable housing. With so many high-rent apartments and condos being built in the Phoenix area, low-income families don't even have a chance.
And the wait list for Section 8 housing is long.
“On average, it’s like five years to even get into Section 8 housing,” said Stevens.
Save the Family hopes their services can help as many families as possible, especially during the holidays.
For Williams, it changed her life. She is now a full-time employee with the foundation.
“Just a few short years ago, we were homeless, and now we have a home, I have a car, I have a job,” Williams said.
And she said when she lost nearly everything, there was something she didn't lose sight of: hope.
And sure enough, it worked.
If you’d like to learn more about Save the Family, you can visit this link: https://savethefamily.org.