Kaitlin Cook and Frank Pickering arrived at our program in January of 2018. Kaitlin was past her due date and was expecting the couple’s first child at any time. They were coming from what most would consider a rough way of living. These adults had been living in a tent in homeless camps in Concord through all seasons for the last two and a half years. There, the couple faced loss of possessions from fire and theft. They dealt with brutal cold, food insecurity and incessant drug activity. The impending birth of their child hardened their resolve to improve their lives and make significant changes. This is the couple as they arrived to our program; determined and ready.
Nine days after their arrival they welcomed Fraynklin, their darling little boy (and spitting image of his father) into the world. Without taking a breather, just weeks after Fraynklin’s birth the family incorporated Kaitlin’s daughter from a prior relationship, Wyllow, into the family. What was going to start as visitation quickly became full time care, and the family never missed a beat, growing and learning together as an intact family unit. They had the support needed here and with other organizations like the Community Action Program, but it took their resolve to follow through and make the most of the help being offered.
Life at Friends Emergency Housing provided the family with a structured and stable “home-base” from which they could grow and problem-solve. They are a textbook example of how our shelter can be utilized; as a transition from one way of life to another more positive one. Staff here provided the opportunity and encouragement to develop life-skills at the same time they dealt with case management and obtaining sustainable housing. The family showed great promise and progress with organization, communication and the “can-do” spirit. The family dealt bravely with legal matters, family challenges, their own recovery and budgeting on a “shoe-string”. They developed into positive role-models for other residents, and complied with our program rules and expectations with a rare grace. Kaitlin, the ebullient one, was always on hand to share from her personal experience and support others with their struggles. Frank, and his characteristic calmness, helped willingly and ably with projects around the house. The family is excitedly anticipating a new start as an intact family, moving into their new apartment in March of 2018.