"I never thought I'd have to live in a truck with eight kids with nowhere to go," said Key Dauterive. "No access to food or water. It was just the hardest thing I've ever had to go through."
Dauterive and his family lost their home during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Then, a few months later, he lost his job.
He said his bills began stacking up, and before he knew it, his truck was impounded.
He, his wife, and children were turned away from shelters because none of them had the space to house a family of 10.
That's when they found West Houston Assistance Ministries, also known as WHAM.
"I was uncomfortable," said Dauterive. "Sometimes, I couldn't go step inside. I would stand out here, and just try to figure out how and why I'm in this situation."
WHAM was founded in 1982, and partners with local businesses and organizations to help people who are struggling to meet their basic needs.
They provide financial assistance for rent and utilities, food, clothing, employment services and even GED and ESL classes.
At WHAM, Dauterive's family finally had access to fresh food, but the real change happened after he met with an employment counselor, and prepared a new resume.
His 7-year-old son Josiah proudly boasted about his father and what happened next.
"He works at Texas Children's Hospital, and he's a head cook," said Josiah.
For the first time in a year and a half, Dauterieve will be going to work next week.
"We really like to work on people's confidence to keep going and help them to get their foot in the door, and having an ultimate goal as to what they see as long term and where they want to go," said WHAM's employment services supervisor Tiaa Johnson.
According to WHAM, more than 1,600 people used their employment resources last year, and more than 3,000 people received financial assistance.
For a family that goes everywhere together, a new job means new opportunities.
"He works really hard to take care of this family, and we've been going through a lot, and he's doing everything in his power to get us somewhere to stay," said Josiah. "It's like a dream come true."
For more information on WHAM's employment services, click here.
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