• Interview

“We Had to Tell Her About Santa”: Homeless Parents Face Impossible Choices

“It was just kind of hard to explain how Santa might not be able to find us in the hotel,” Lawrence Charles says, recalling the moment when he and his wife, Andrea, sat their young daughter down for a talk about why there would be no Christmas presents. That holiday season, they were scraping together dollars to stay in motels after losing their home to Hurricane Sandy and hitting a series of barriers to stable housing. At the time of this recording, their family was in transitional housing through the YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, Lawrence was working overtime, and Andrea was weeks away from being hired for her current job at a major tech company. The couple discuss the “mean history line” of housing instability in both of their families, and resolve to give their daughter a better future.

Their interview was recorded in August 2014 at YWCA Opportunity Place in Seattle. A story expanding on this clip and a photo essay about the Charles family’s life in transition are on the Firesteel blog.

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