Family Service Center provides refuge, hope

Like most grandparents, Cathy and Les want the best for their grandchildren. For right now, at least, ‘the best’ is Catholic Charities’ Family Service Center.

The family of six share one room at Family Service Center after losing their home. While they’re thankful they are afforded a place to stay and have the support of the great staff at Catholic Charities, they are cramped and looking forward to moving back into a home of their own.

“Ever since we’ve been here, I’ve been working on pounding the pavement,” Cathy said. “I didn’t think it was going to be this tough.”

It’s challenging to find an affordable place to live in Saint Paul, even tougher when you’re looking for a place big enough to house two adults and four children ranging from six to 11-years-old. The challenge is compounded when relying on friends to drive you to showings.

Cathy and Les are often in the computer lab, searching for an affordable place to live. They need to stay in Ramsey County so the kids can stay at their school on the east side of Saint Paul; the kids have dealt with enough changes in their short lives.

“I want to have a house. I want to be happy. I want Leslie to be happy. I want my pets back,” Cathy said.

She misses the simple pleasures of life, like cooking a good meal of her choosing or having friends and family over to visit.

“When we left, we had to give up family. People used to come visit all the time. They can’t do that anymore,” she said. “It’s a hard situation we’re going through now.”

Despite the challenges, Cathy and Les have a positive attitude and, rather than dwell on their situation, are working to improve it the best they can.

“I’m not a person, a lot of times, to ask for help. But here, I have no choice,” Cathy said. “I take in a lot and then it breaks and then I get to the point where I just sit and cry.”

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