Houston mother of 4 sleeping in car after eviction receives thousands in donations

Jessica Willey Image
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Houston mother of 4 sleeping in car after being evicted
The woman said she and her children were evicted from their home in north Harris County in June after she lost her job due to COVID-19.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For the better part of two and a half months, Kenia Madrigal and her four children have been sleeping in her car.

"I take the car seats out. I put the seats down, and these two go all the way back," explained the single mother. "So, me and my oldest are there while the youngest are in the back."

Madrigal, 29, showed Eyewitness News her small SUV that now holds most of their belongings. She and her children, ages 11, 8, 3, and 1, were evicted in June from a mobile home in north Harris County where they lived for almost two years.

"It's hard because my daughter keeps asking me when are we going to go home and we don't have a home," Madrigal said.

School for the older children is in question, too.

RELATED: Unemployed mother of 2 facing eviction during COVID-19 pandemic

Madrigal was laid off from her job during the stay-home order and could not pay her rent.

Although she is back working and grateful, she is still uncertain of her future.

"It's so hard to hold it together, try to be strong and try to show my kids there's nothing to worry about. It's really hard," Madrigal said.

She said she has applied for state assistance, but was denied. Madrigal has also called 2-1-1 and has tried shelters. Her $11.50 an hour job is not enough to get her an apartment. She needs help.

Ashley Lawson of the City of Houston Housing and Community Development department said they are seeing a higher need due to the pandemic and are working to connect those seeking help with resources.

On the department's website, the "Way Home" tab takes visitors to shelter options.

SEE MORE: Son and 88-year-old mother face eviction amid COVID-19 pandemic and can't find help

The Houston Coalition for the Homeless helps with other needs, but the Houston Housing Authority tab directs you to a website where you'll find applications for public housing closed because there are no available units.

The Salvation Army also has resources on its website, and a spokesperson said their housing centers are not full.

The Star of Hope has some spots for those who qualify. Their Love-in-Action vans are also resources on wheels that are providing basic needs.

"All I can tell them is 'One day at a time,'" said Madrigal who will continue to search for help and hope. "Hopefully, I can get somewhere to call home, to get a roof over their heads because it's been almost three months without having a home and I don't know how much more I can take."

A GoFundMe page has been created to help the family.

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