The number of people in Johnson City who don't have place to call home is on the rise.
News 5 found out one organization is not only working to get more families in homes, but they are also trying to move them toward a more stable and independent life.
The idea of having a house and stability is enough to bring single mother Nikita Nogueda to tears. "It’s awesome; it's really good, because I didn't know where I would be or what I would do. It brought to so many resources and opportunities," said Nogueda.
Nogueda is a single mother with two children and one more on the way, but a couple of months ago she fell on hard times. That brought her to the Family Promise of Greater Johnson City, where executive director Agnes Samples says keeping families together is crucial. "It is designed to help homeless families with children stay intact while we help them locate and secure financial stability for permanent housing," said Samples.
Samples tells us Nogueda and her family aren't alone. Based on statistics from Johnson City Schools, homelessness continues to grow rapidly in the city. "Last year, we had 500 children who identified as homeless, and this year we have over 700, so that is a remarkable increase," said Samples.
Samples says the economic downturn hurts families who are already struggling, but thanks to a $68,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Family Promise will be able to continue their Family Moving Home Program.
The program helps families overcome obstacles that led them to homelessness by providing them with guidance and resources. They attempt to help them get on their feet through lifestyle and financial classes.
For that, Nogueda is grateful. "It makes me feel a lot more secure in my emotions because I know that I’m not going to just be put out there by myself and fly or fall," said Nogueda.
Nogueda tells us she plans to attend cosmetology school.
We found out families must go through the Interfaith Hospitality Network Program before being placed in a house through the Family Moving Home Program, which they can be a part of for up to five years.