Shamekia and James live in Austin, Texas. As carpenter and welder by trade, James was working full-time and earning plenty of money to provide for his five children when he was laid off during the Great Recession.
When James lost his job, he and Shamekia weren’t able to afford rent and bills for their home. They were forced to move from motel to motel, some of which were roach-infested and located in high crime areas of town. James turned to drinking to deal with his job loss, and during an altercation with his wife, a neighbor called Child Protective Services. Seeing the conditions in which the family was living, Shamekia and James lost custody of their children.
James and Shamekia have been struggling to find jobs and have been attending counseling and parenting classes in an effort to get their children back.