TAMPA, Fla. — A mother of four, with no place to live, bouncing from shelter to shelter, living out of cars and motels, finally has a place her family can call home.
A week ago, three-year-old Ahmaad didn’t know where he was going to sleep at night, and now he has his own race car bed. While a few feet away, his three sisters are breaking in their bunk bed.
“I was so overjoyed, I couldn’t even cry, I wanted to, but I couldn’t cry, you know, just seeing the kids happy made me feel good,” said mother, Amber Herbin.
For the first time since escaping domestic violence in 2015, Herbin and her four children, ages three to ten, have a living room and even a Christmas Tree.
“I got depressed at times, but my kids are what’s more important for me, so you know I looked at them and they are the ones that kept me moving,” said Herbin.
Having her own apartment would have never been possible without the help of Christopher Ervin, of the Tampa Housing Authority, who met Amber on the bus. After hearing her story, the mission was on.
“I’ve called so many different agencies to help us with these people, and doors closed, phones hung up,” said Ervin. “This country is so plentiful and we have so many resources, there is no way in the world that that should be going on in this country.”
Eventually, his perseverance paid off because State Senator Janet Cruz didn’t hang up, she listened. Not only did her staff find an apartment, but they also helped Amber move in.
“She went through all the conventional methods and they reached out and said, ‘please, she has four children and going from place to place and is homeless here,’ so we are very proud,” said Cruz.
The generosity was only just beginning. Lisa Shasteen heard the story and started collecting furniture, clothes, kitchen supplies and Christmas presents through social media. Hundreds of people responded with donations.
“Just like a hive of bees, we all came together,” said Shasteen.
Not only is Amber looking forward to a merry Christmas, but in the new year, she hopes to finally pursue her dream of going back to school and becoming a nurse.
“Very determined person and an excellent mother, and I can’t wait to see what she is going to do now,” said Shasteen.
Shasteen got such an overwhelming outpouring of donations that they couldn’t all fit in Amber’s house, so they are going to start their own charity helping other families like Amber’s. They are going to name it Christopher’s Hope, after Christopher Ervin.
For more information on how to contact Senator Cruz’s office to help families in need, call 813- 348-1017.