Viewer Donations, Silicon Valley Shelter Give New Hope to Struggling Household

MENLO PARK (KPIX) — There is a long wait list for one of these apartments at the Haven Family House, a transitional shelter in Menlo Park.

When KPIX first visited the Chavez family a year ago, they were living in a broken-down recreational vehicle and were homeless for the first time.

There was no heat, no working fridge, virtually no free space and limited running water.

“It’s crowded, it’s hard,” said daughter Lannette Chavez in February last year.

Lannette shared a bed with her two younger sisters.

Her father Omar had been working multiple jobs in the restaurant industry until he hurt his back. Suddenly, the family was out of money and, soon, were out of options. They were evicted from their $1200 per month studio apartment in East Palo Alto.

The mother, Adriana, started working at a daycare facility making about $10 per hour. The family is part of a growing number working poor in Silicon Valley.

Since that story aired last February, KPIX received an overwhelming response from viewers.

“A lot families reach out for my family,” said Adriana Chavez. “They sent clothes for my kids, helmets for their bikes … even gift cards.”

Donations poured in, including brand new shoes and a new generator for their RV.

Ariel said her favorite gift was an Xbox. A viewer sent Lannette a brand new MacBook.

The family hadn’t asked for anything.

Nine months ago an outreach team from LifeMoves — the largest homeless shelter and services provider in Silicon Valley — offered the family a temporary, fully-furnished two-bedroom apartment. They have been living at the shelter ever since.

“When we became aware through the KPIX story and through contacts with the Ravenswood School District, our outreach workers went and met up with the Chavez family in their RV and connected them with the Haven family house shelter,” Bruce Ives, LifeMoves CEO, explained.

There are 23 apartments at the Haven Family House. In all, LifeMoves has 700 beds across several locations. Every night they are full. Half of them are occupied by children.

When asked “What’s the best part about you sleeping in your own bed?” Ariel replied: “Because no one’s there and it’s comfy.”

Adriana said the family is beyond appreciative.

“I was stunned, I was happy, I was really blessed,” she said.

Sixteen-year-old Lannette is grateful but knows their situation is temporary.

“I want to thank them for helping us and for taking their time on us but at the same time…

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