Imagine being homeless with four children. That’s the harsh reality one Miami mother has been living for more than a year. But as 7’s Robbin Simmons tells us, the community came together to find her a place to live. A place that gives her and her kids hope and healing.
It’s move-in day for the Hanshaw family. For the past 16 months, Raquel and her four kids have been homeless…
Raquel Hanshaw: “I lost my job of 10 years at Jackson, and I fell behind on my rent, and so we had to move.”
Raquel says it was the hardest time of their lives.
Raquel Hanshaw: “It was a lot, we went through a lot. People judge you and they don’t really know your story.”
For months, the family stayed in Miami-area shelters. Raquel got a job as a housekeeper at a Miami Beach hotel, and used what little money she had to buy a used car.
Raquel Hanshaw: “It would take like two hours to cross the bridge on a bus, so I thought buying a car with my taxes was a positive thing.”
That’s when she was asked to leave the shelter. But she couldn’t afford an apartment because she didn’t have enough for the deposit or first and last month’s rent.
Raquel Hanshaw: “They just saw it as I was working.”
The family ended up sleeping in the car.
Mallory Hanshaw: “It was a really hard experience, especially having to go to school, and see everyone in my school.”
To keep the children busy, Raquel enrolled them in the Overtown Tornadoes track program. The Tornadoes are coached by Miami Police Neighborhood Resource Officer Malcolm Moyse.
Raquel didn’t know it then, but Officer Moyse and the team decided to help her.
Officer Malcolm Moyse, Miami Police: “The Tornado kids, they actually helped with the fundraisers and stuff like that.”
Over several months, the kids held car washes and collected money. And then, they surprised Raquel and her children: a newly renovated apartment in Overtown.
Malcolm Moyse: “On behalf of the track team, the community, the mayor’s office, the commissioner’s office — everybody, we came together collectively and got you a home sweet home.”
As friends and neighbors crowded in, Raquel was overwhelmed.
On move-in day, she still couldn’t believe it.
Raquel Hanshaw: “The simplest things I’m grateful for, like my own restroom, my own pillow. I’m a normal person, and I just fell on hard times and Officer Moyse is one of the people that understood that.”
They say it takes a village to raise kids and help each other through tough times. Officer Moyse and members of the Overtown community take that saying to heart.
Raquel Hanshaw: “I can rest now cause I know they’re in a safe place. And they’re going to have a beautiful place with a nice roof over their head.”
Mallory Hanshaw: “It’s actually really inspiring to know that someone who’s a police officer dedicated his time to help my family, and I really do appreciate it.”
Raquel says she can afford the new apartment on her salary, but it’s going to be tight, so she is looking for a second job so they can enjoy their new home.
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