Skyrocketing Rents Leaving Even Working Families Homeless

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - For Martha Santos and her 12-year-old son, Ricke, a concrete slab behind Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Midland has been just one of their beds.

After she lost her job two weeks ago and then her apartment, they've been forced to live on the streets.

"Anywhere I could find places," Santos said. "Behind a church. A friend will let me stay the night. I'll go to a church and see if I can get something to eat for that afternoon."

Now every day is a constant search, a search for the next meal or the next place to rest their heads.

Santos fears the most for her son, who begins fifth grade at DeZavala Elementary School next Monday.

"I know I'm a grown woman and I know I can take care of myself but it's hard when you don't have everything to take care of your son," she said.

Ricke said he wants to be a police officer when he grows up and make enough money to take care of his mother.

"My back hurts because we had to sleep in all that," he said. "I don't want Mama to cry because it makes me more sadder."

Santos is trying.

She works 12-13 hours every day cleaning at the Midland Park Mall food court but no matter how much money she brings in, finding a home here is still too expensive.

"You've got to give the deposit, the rent and then you've got to turn on your electricity. I just don't got the kind of money with the job I have," she said.

Santos said the Salvation Army didn't have any funds to help her and she can't use their shelter because she works well past midnight every night, while her son stays nearby in the mall.

So they keep walking and looking, looking for the next way to survive and looking for a helping hand.

"Just give us a nice place to sleep at night and a hot meal in the morning. That's all I ask. I don't ask for more," Santos said. "I'm just trying my best."

If you'd like to give any help to Martha and Ricke, you can reach Martha's phone at (432) 741-9340.