Like a mother hen, Linaye watches over the kids at her apartment complex in Lake City. Three of her six children, ages 10, 11, and 13 are still at home with her. The kids play with their neighbors in a large open patio area at the center of the complex. This past summer, under the guidance of Arts Corps, the kids decorated the area with colorful paintings. Other parents in the apartment appreciate Linaye's vigilance in preventing or dealing with any conflicts between the kids.
"It's our little community, and we all need to get along as best we can," she says.
Inside her three-bedroom apartment, the walls are covered with photos of her children. This has been home to the four of them since March. The apartment complex is owned by the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), and was made possible by the Housing Levy, which is up for renewal on the ballot Nov. 3 as Proposition No. 1.
Linaye is especially grateful to have this home because, before moving here, she and her three children were homeless. She did not want her last name published to prevent people from her past knowing her whereabouts
Linaye had been working two jobs, but both were cut in downsizing. She had to move out of her home and into a shelter in North Bend, where she and her children stayed for a year. "I lost a lot of things," she said. In the rural area her kids had to adjust to being some of the very few black students in their school. She says they did pretty well, but missed their friends in Seattle.
In February, the family was able to move back to the city, where they stayed with Linaye's mother before moving into their current apartment. Here, "my kids are happy," she says. She feels her new building is both well maintained and well managed. "She really seems to care," Linaye said of the building manager, telling how she once took the time to drive Linaye to the doctor's office to get a permission slip for one of her kids to go on a camping trip.
Medical issues are preventing Linaye from working; she's applying for Social Security. But eventually she would like to go back to school to become a chemical dependency counselor.
Without affordable housing, Linaye says, "There's no way I could find a place on my limited fixed income." Besides funding construction and maintenance of affordable housing, the Housing Levy also provides emergency rental assistance and first time homebuyer assistance. Linaye says that she would like to move her kids into a house where they could have more space. Perhaps one day the Levy funds will allow her to purchase her own house. That can only happen if voters renew the Housing Levy Nov. 3.