Formerly Homeless Family Happy to Have a Home for the Holidays

Battiste Family

Photo: Joshua Huston

Last Christmas, Anthony Battiste and his four sons — Chris 9, Anthony, 5, Abraham, 4, and Alvin, 2 — spent the holiday in a homeless shelter. After he and his wife separated and she moved to California, Battiste was left with one income and too many expenses. Though he tried to make ends meet with his earnings as a roofer, after a couple of months the family was evicted from their rental in Tacoma.

There were many times when Battiste had to choose between providing food for the children and paying for a hotel room. Despite his best efforts, the family sometimes had no choice but to sleep in their vehicle.

“It was trying, but at the same time it was binding,” says Battiste. “It presented an opportunity for me and the boys to become a strong cadre, leaning and depending on each other to get through the hard times.”

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Prescribing Shelter

Popsicle Place

Photos: Andrea Sassenrath

Popsicle Place, located primarily at the Mary’s Place Guest Rooms in South Lake Union and at a Mary’s Place house in Shoreline, gives homeless families with chronically sick kids a place to rest and recuperate. Families get private rooms, or the use of single-family houses that are loaned to the organization. The cost to run Popsicle Place varies by location and need of the families. The organization has received a couple of grants for the program, but primarily the funding comes from the general Mary’s Place budget.

Those who use Popsicle Place services include families with children battling cancer and mothers with babies born premature. The program is currently hosting about nine families but has the capacity to shelter more.

LEARN MORE ABOUT MARY’S PLACE HERE

“Amber Wise never imagined that her 5-year-old son Josiah would one day be diagnosed with leukemia.

‘He was complaining that his legs hurt,’ Wise said. ‘It kept getting worse, and so we took him to the local hospital in Spokane, but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him.’

Finally, after running several blood tests, Wise received a call informing her that her son had acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

‘When we found out he had cancer, I felt like I hit the bottom of the barrel,’ Wise said.

At the time, Wise and her family were homeless, struggling to secure stable housing in Moses Lake, a city on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. With the help of a relative, she relocated with her wife and son to Seattle where Josiah could receive the best possible care at Seattle Children’s Hospital.”

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