Deshaye was in a tough spot. Employed as a caregiver for an elderly and disabled man, Deshaye’s employer passed away in October 2013, leaving her without any income to support herself or her two children, a six year old boy and a 21 month old girl. In addition, Deshaye’s nephew had moved in with her family that summer. Already struggling to support her expanded family on her caregiver’s income, including her growing teenage nephew, things turned from hard to nearly impossible in a matter of weeks.
A ward of the state and a foster child herself who was moved from house to house and family to family, Deshaye had nobody she could turn to for support when the bills started to pile up. Deshaye knows she can only depend on herself to keep her family together: “Literally, there is just me. My kids have no grandparents, uncles, aunties. I didn’t stay long enough to get a family I can call my own.”
With a staggering bill of over $1000 that was transferred over from a previous address and without work, Deshaye found herself at Byrd Barr Place seeking help. She discovered she only qualified for $275, as she hadn’t lived at her current address for the 12 months needed to give her a grant based on her family’s personal energy usage. The $275 would not prevent her impending disconnection from Seattle City Light. After Deshaye left in despair, she received a phone call only 30 minutes later informing her of a Bridge the Gap donation of $400 to her account. “The extra donation allowed my lights to be kept on. I cried when I found out. I don’t know how to express my gratitude. It is a blessing that there are people out there who are able to help,” Deshaye reflected a few weeks later.
Now Deshaye is fighting to get back on her feet and look for work, “any type of work,” so that she can keep her family together and provide a better future for her nephew and children.