Nobody knew that though this Atlanta mother had been going to work as usual, she’d return each day not to a home, but a car. She and her kids were homeless, and life was a struggle. The car was the family’s only roof over their heads, until one day it was taken from them. She later admits that it was a blessing in disguise.
It was a tough year for Ebony Rhodes in 2016. She and her four kids were homeless, and slept in their old car each night. “When I got off work, we would just sleep right there in the parking lot in my car,” Rhodes told WSBTV. “A lot of people didn’t know that because I was still going to work.”
Rhodes also knew that it was not safe for her children to sleep in the car.
“A lot of times I didn’t sleep, because the kids were asleep,” she told CNN. “I was watching to make sure nothing happened—no one tried to rob us … so we’d just stay right there in the car.”
“I apologized to my kids and let them know I’m sorry.”
The car was everything to Rhodes and her family.
One day, she was pulled over for having an expired tag on her car.
“She came to the car and asked why was I crying and I was like, ‘because I know my license isn’t good,” Rhodes recalled the moment she was pulled over.
Her car was impounded and she was arrested. Once her sister, who lives in Florida, learned of the news, she came over to get her children.
Gradually, Rhodes’s story reached Deputy Chief Jeff Glazier of the Atlanta Police Department.
Glazier helped Rhodes to get her car back and even found her and her family a shelter. He and the police department also set up a GoFundMe account titled “We Are More Alike than Unalike” to prevent Rhodes from being homeless again.
“We want to pay for rent, we want to pay for food and transportation … this is obviously long-term. It’s not going to end just because we give her a little bit of money. It’s about getting through the hard times, having someone to talk to and someone to lean on, to get advice from,” he said.
“If we were to let Ebony’s family fail, I think that would be a failure on us,” Glazier explained. “I think we all have to come together and help each other out.”
One year later, Rhodes says she’s thankful for the arrest.
“Had I not got pulled over that day, I’d probably still be in my car, just taking a risk every day. Losing that car and getting pulled over that day changed my life,” she said.
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