Bridge the Gap Stories: Emmanuel

Life in Seattle isn’t easy when you are a single parent.  Many are familiar with the plight of the single mom, but more recently there has been a rise in single dads, without a commensurate increase in resources.  For a single dad such as Emmanuel, losing his housing could equate to losing his kids, since very few shelters accommodate single men with children.  This nightmare confronted Emmanuel in early January 2014, until Centerstone stepped in to help him restore his power, remain in his apartment, and keep his family together.

A single dad working to raise his three year old daughter and his five year old son, Emmanuel wasn’t aware that he was going to be disconnected from his electricity until his power was shut-off.  The warning notices never arrived, and he was horrified to find himself powerless with a purple disconnection notice taped to his door.  Not only were his kids cold and his food spoiling with the temperature hovering in the 30s outside, but Emmanuel knew that “the apartment complex doesn’t allow any tenant to have no power.  You can get an eviction notice for that.”

A certified dive master who has made a living for himself doing voiceovers for movies and dubbing for TV shows, Emmanuel’s work slowed down significantly when he became a single father.  Without any family to help take care of the kids and struggling to afford daycare, Emmanuel saw jobs slipping away from him.  “I haven’t done as much networking as I would have liked.”  Surviving on only $286 a month in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) while he looks for more work that also accommodates his role as a primary care giver for his children, Emmanuel turned to Centerstone for help.

$300 in Bridge the Gap funds coupled with his federal LIHEAP grant quickly restored power to Emmanuel and his kids.  More than just turning back on his electricity, Emmanuel wants the anonymous donors to know “that they did help someone that really, really needed it.  Because of them we still have a place. We would have been kicked out without that donation.  I’m extremely grateful.  They helped us in a lot of different ways.”

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