OUR STORIES / Participants

A Stable Home, a Happy Life

When Luke became a father, he was committed to providing the best life possible for his daughter, Amira. As a son of immigrant parents who grew up in poverty, he knew that he wanted more for his daughter. He worked hard to support his family and make his community a better place—working restaurant jobs, mentoring elementary school children, and helping youth in high-risk situations.

But Amira’s mom was continually putting them all in danger. So much so, that Luke was forced to flee their home to seek safety when Amira was just five months old.

They sought safe haven by staying in domestic violence shelters. But as a single father, it was hard to find a place that could accommodate them; when they were accepted, they were only allowed to stay for a few weeks at a time. He hoped to find work, but knew that without help he would have no one to watch Amira while he was gone and he couldn’t afford the high costs of childcare. He went to his first job interview with Amira in his lap.

Luke applied for affordable housing programs, but had nowhere to go while he waited for his application to be accepted. He knew eventually he would run out of places to stay, and feared that one day he and Amira would end up on the streets if he didn’t figure something out.

Running out of options, his caseworker at the shelter referred him to EFAA. Luke applied for EFAA’s short-term housing right away, and was able to move in the very next day.

The switch from a shelter, where Luke and Amira were surrounded by strangers, to their own home made all the difference. Luke’s mother was able to join them and help with Amira, keeping his family united. The stability of their new home became the foundation for their future.

In addition to housing, EFAA connected them with an array of stabilizing services like food assistance, childcare, and other community resources. When he finally got the good news that they had been selected for permanent affordable housing, it seemed everything was coming together

“EFAA helped our family transition from homelessness to a permanent home. I’m grateful for all of the help EFAA gave my family to help us get to this point.”

With permanent housing, Luke was finally able to look for employment. When he landed an interview at a local hotel in town, his case manager recalls, “Luke went to the library and rented a book on the history of the company. He was going to do everything he could to nail that interview. That was Luke—he is so motivated.”

Leaving a violent partner and rebuilding your life isn’t easy, but today Luke is optimistic for the future. “In my whole life, I’ve never said I was proud of myself—but now I have to say I am proud,” he says humbly speaking about his determination to support his family. Through it all, his commitment to his daughter remains unwavering: “I just want her to achieve the best life that she can… to get a good education and to live a life without poverty. For us to maintain stable housing and have a happy life.”