After fleeing domestic violence, a mother and her six children have been homeless, sleeping anywhere from their car, to a tent on the beach. When she reached out to homeless shelters she was told they were full so she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
The kids were looking at houses on Miami Beach.
A child dreaming of a waterfront home should make you smile, till you find out these six children are homeless.
Ahdolayah Reyes: “We have nowhere to live, and that’s killing me.”
They arrived six months ago, after Ahdolayah says she fled an abusive ex in Las Vegas.
Ahdolayah Reyes: “He wouldn’t let me go. I had a restraining order. He kept going across, he kept going against it.”
A victims program in Nevada gave her the money to drive to another state. It took five days to make it to Miami Beach, where they were told there was no room anywhere.
Ahdolayah Reyes: “I call the homeless hotline every day, hoping that they’ll have some room for us, and they just keep saying it’s not enough room.”
The kids, with ages 5-15, slept in the SUV till it got repossessed.
They put up a tent on the beach and got pizza to make it fun for the little ones till the police told Ahdolayah if they saw the kids sleeping on the beach again, they would have to notify the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Ahdolayah Reyes: “I was raised as a foster child, so I don’t want, you know, I can’t lose my kids. I can’t lose my babies. They’re my life. They’re everything. I wouldn’t know what to do without them.”
So, Ahdolayah says, she did the only thing she could think of to make money for her family.
Ahdolayah Reyes: “I started dancing at a strip club to pay the rent.”
Each night, she would strip to pay for a hotel room and buy food for the kids, and each day she would call shelters.
Ahdolayah Reyes: “It’s not easy to find a place in Miami with six kids and two dogs.”
Ahdolayah did have one option: return to Nevada.
Ahdolayah Reyes: “If I was a weak woman, I would have went back to the man who’s trying to kill me. Cause that’s what we do, most of us, we go back because there’s nowhere to go.”
But Ahdolayah says she will never return to that abusive life and wants to start a new life.
Ahdolayah Reyes: “Please. Any assistance, please?”
We went to work trying to find a safe place for Ahdolayah and the six kids. My first call was to the Homeless Trust where we found out why Ahdolayah could not find shelter for her family.
The trust’s spokesperson, Lisa Mozloom, told me they were helping house 8,000 people that day and were completely full, that Ahdolayah’s case was a unique, challenging one but let them try.
On Saturday, they found a domestic violence shelter that could take the family, and we hit a hurdle.
As Ahdolayah was outside, police showed up. Who knows why they were there, but Ahdolayah was afraid and fled.
She texted me, she thought they were coming to arrest her because of a traffic warrant.
Ahdolayah Reyes: “I got a ticket for driving without a license, and then I missed court. I didn’t know when court was.”
That couldn’t be straightened out on a Saturday. A good Samaritan we know paid for Ahdolayah and her kids to go to a hotel.
The next week, the Homeless Trust spoke to their court contacts, a hearing was scheduled for Ahdolayah where she got her first break.
A Judge: “And then, upon completion of the program, the case will be dismissed.”
Ahdolayah quickly completed the program, and the warrant was dismissed, the next break for the family.
The Homeless Trust told us they had a shelter for the family to go to.
Ahdolayah Reyes: “That would really, really make me happy. I have to worry about where are we going to stay tonight.”
Six months without a place to stay. The kids were ready, Ahdolayah was already making plans.
Ahdolayah Reyes: “I’m looking for a job. I would love a job where I don’t have to strip, where, you know, I can be more respectful.”
As the kids got in the van to head to a shelter, they didn’t have much to carry because they don’t have much.
But as Ahdolayah walked by us, she was happy and did something we had not seen before, she smiled.
I bet I had a hundred texts with Ahdolayah and different groups, trying to sort out her complicated problem.
And I was reminded the Homeless Trust does amazing work and a GoFundMe page has been started to help Ahdolayah and her six children find a permanent place to live.
Seeking shelter from a problem you have? You don’t have to travel far. Find a home with us to give you a new outlook on life.
With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser 7News.
To help Ahdolayah and six children, click here.
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