January 4, 2017
November 2015: Gabriel rests on his mother Akira’s shoulder as she feeds her infant Jeremiah while Victoria solves a crossword puzzle and Anthony reads toy advertisements. “My hope is that we will be in a house by the time he is walking,” said Akira as she imagined raising a toddler in the limited space of their motel room.
December 2016: Jeremiah walks around in the home his family owns in Baltimore.
When I lived in Virginia and interned at The Free Lance-Star, I would spend my free time with the Martin family. I followed as they moved from motel room to motel room, the only housing situation they could manage at the time. They were open with their struggles because they wanted to share their story. In nine years, the family had moved sixteen times through a series of temporary housing situations. Living with friends, homeless shelters, camping outdoors and many motel rooms… Over and over again, Akira would tell me that she wanted their story to have a happy ending. Every time I visited we talked about the plan she and her brother Pete had to buy a house. They were making due in the short term because they had long term dreams. Temporary Stay is their story.
This past summer they moved to a house in Baltimore. “It needs a little fixing up, but its ours,” as Akira proudly put it. I visited in December and got to see little Jeremiah walk around in the home that was only a dream when he was born a year ago. It’s hard to describe the feeling of seeing someone accomplish their dreams after rooting for them for so long. It was wonderful to see Victoria, Anthony, Gabriel and Jeremiah thriving in a stable home. Here’s to you, Akira and Pete.