Posted on November 22, 2012 at 6:17 PM
SEATTLE -- This Thanksgiving is unlike any other for Cassidy Sweezey and her boyfriend Keigher. A hot meal and dry clothes are just a few of the blessings donated by countless volunteers after this week's flood.
“Just to know that people care and we're not alone in this hole by ourselves means a lot,” said Cassidy.
Cassidy has been homeless for 5 years. At 23, she's now clean of the heroin habit that landed her at Nickelsville, but she's stuck here...caught in the trap called poverty.
“I've been homeless for so long now, I don't know how to not be homeless,” she says.
It's a circle of the most vicious kind, one that's often passed on to the next generation. That’s a terrifying prospect for Cassidy and Keigher, given the responsibility they now carry.
Cassidy is 20 weeks pregnant.
Three onesies, wet and molding from this week’s storm, are the only things she owns for her baby to be. Cassidy cries as she pulls them from a plastic tub.
“Most women are ‘nesting’ right now. I only have 20 more weeks, if I make it full term. I've got nothing. No baby bottles, no clothes. It's so scary,” said Cassidy.
Keigher hugs Cassidy and kisses away her tears as the two stand in the mud outside their tent.
Cassidy accepts full responsibility for the situation she's in. She’s been drug-free for five years. Clean and sober three months, Keigher is now manning up and preparing to become a dad.
“It isn’t that I’m not emotionally prepared,” he says.“It’s that, this is no place for children.”
Because there's no other place for them to live as a family right now, Nickelsville is their only option. Shelters for women and children don’t allow men, and family shelters are full with a waiting list. Keigher reassures Cassidy that they’ll “figure something out,” but she knows the looming reality all too well.
“The hospital doesn't hand out babies to people who live in tents. That's my biggest fear, that I won't have a home to take my child to. Then what?” The state could very well take their baby and put it in foster care. “I love this baby,” says Keigher, turning his back to hide the tears. “I don’t know what I’d do.”
For now, they are simply hopeful the city can come up with a solution for everyone at Nickelsville that's better than a tent on the side of the road.
And they are thankful for all blessings, great and small.
Organizers at Nickelsville have put together a wish list to best help them deal with the aftermath of this week's flood. You can learn more by visiting their Facebook page