GOING HOMELESS: ONE TUSCALOOSA FAMILY’S STRUGGLE
Hundreds of West Alabama residents struggle daily with homlessness or the threat of becoming homeless. Here’s one woman’s story.
Geraldyne McCaskey says she only recently found adequate housing, after lacking a proper home for more than a year. It started, she says, when her family was fleeing from their apartment in another county that was full of mildew and mold.
“I really had to humble myself to do these things,” she said. “because it was an experience. I never had to do this before.”
Money was tight for McCaskey’s family of five, which includes McCaskey’s daughter and her daughter’s three children. At first, they tried making do in a motel room, but expenses quickly added up.
“Can you imagine working all week, and when you get your check, all you are going to do is take your debit card down there?” she says. “It’s going on a room because you want a roof (over your head). (The children) have to bathe, they have to be clean.”
Both McCaskey and her daughter work as substitute teachers, and she says it took all they had to stay afloat. When their ends could no longer meet, they had to give up their temporary home.
McCaskey says the family was homeless for a little more than a year. In the beginning, they stayed with family, but soon enough, their car was the only place left to stay.
“Walmart was the closest and safest,” she says. “It was 24 hours, and you could get out and walk around Walmart.”
Fast forward to today, and life is much better for McCaskey and her family. Thanks to the help of several local agencies and the United Way of West Alabama, they have a home in Tuscaloosa to call their own.
Local organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army and many more provide help to homeless families with the money they receive on their own and through the United Way. If you’d like to help, there are many ways you can donate your time, money or resources.
Visit the United Way online or call 205-345-6640 to find out how you can help.
If you know someone who needs assistance, urge them to contact the United Way’s 2-1-1 phone service.
Disclosure: WVUA 23’s Tameka Alexander is also United Way of West Alabama’s 2-1-1 information and referral director.