That first night, surrounded by strangers, still shell-shocked after her family was cast onto the street, Tiara Reado shrank back into childhood. The teenager stayed glued to her mother’s side, following her around the Star of Hope shelter like a toddler.
When the older woman stirred, Tiara stirred with her, whispering, “Mommy, where are you going? Mommy, I’m coming with you.”
Then Tiara cried. She cried when they had to camp on the floor, next to dozens of other homeless families. She cried when they moved into a cramped room with narrow cots and cinderblock walls. She cried when she realized they had no place else to go.
For seven days straight, she cried.
What else can you do when you’re 16 and your dad is out of work and your family has just been evicted? What else can you do when you’re just a kid – scared and sleepy and hungry?
A few months later, Courtney Williams was huddled on the floor of the same shelter, sharing space with the unknown and clutching his Bible.
The 17-year-old’s family had just been kicked out of their apartment. His mother had been very sick for a very long time and he was on the verge of dropping out of school. The whole world, it seemed, was conspiring against him.
What else could he do?