Family forced out of Miami home where floor collapsed, now in homeless shelter

(WSVN) - A single mother saved up to buy her family’s dream home, but the floor literally fell out from under them. Now they face the possibility of being torn apart.
7’s Brian Entin has the update in tonight’s 7Investigates.

When we got to Guirlande Charles’ house, her situation had gone from bad to worse.

Guirlande Charles: (crying) “I need some help, please, please, please, please.”

Guirlande’s nine kids were gathering all their belongings into bags and walking across their collapsed floor, getting ready to go to a homeless shelter.

Micelyne Labonte, daughter: “Everybody is pretty sad, because if we have to leave, it’s going to be a long way to school, and we don’t want to be late.”

John Charles, brother: “This is it right here.”

We first showed you the family’s heartbreaking situation in September, when their living room floor suddenly caved in.

Guirlande worked two jobs as a security guard and nursing assistant to save up and buy the house for $250,000.

But we discovered the previous owners bought it for only $79,000 just nine months earlier and flipped the house without pulling any permits.

John Charles: “They really made a killing off my sister, you know what I mean? They bought this house for $80,000, and they just made it look good, do this and do that, to just make a sale. They don’t care.”

The City of Miami declared the house unsafe, and Guirlande’s insurance company would not cover the repairs. She was trying to come up with the money when something even worse happened. The Department of Children and Families showed up here and said she had to leave her home or they would take away her kids.

Guirlande Charles: “DCF come to my house. They say, ‘Leave today.’ When I don’t leave today, they could take all my kids. I don’t need to. I spend my time for my kids. I love my kids. I buy the house by myself.”

The kids packed up their clothes and school work.

The emotion was too overwhelming for their mom, so they comforted each other, locked up the house and went to Chapman Partnership homeless shelter in downtown Miami.

Symeria Hudson, CEO, Chapman Partnership: “The good position that Ms. Charles is in is that she has employment. She’s working with an amazing security company, so she is getting income. But, unfortunately, sometimes it’s not enough income to help her with the repairs she needs at her home.”

The family is living at the shelter, and the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust says they are committed to helping Guirlande make the repairs so her house is safe again.

Ron Book, Homeless Trust: “It is a sad situation, but we have got a responsibility to help. She’s not looking for a handout, she’s looking for a hand up. That’s what she’s looking for. She’s looking for some help to dig herself out.”

The family is now hopefully on the way to rebuilding their house and their lives. If you would like to help, we have a link to their GoFundMe.



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