When Jacqui Munson's baby is born, she may be homeless.Munson, 24, of Richland, tries to remain upbeat, although she admits being homeless and pregnant can be scary.
After all, being negative won't change anything, said Munson, who is due this week.
So instead, she and her boyfriend, Alan Dixon, 24, are doing what they can to take the steps that will lead them to their own home and to help their 5-year-old son, Jorden Dixon, cope with the changes to their lives.
"There is a lot of little steps to getting back on your feet," Dixon said.
On Monday night, Munson and Jorden slept at the Tri-City Union Gospel Mission's women's shelter in Pasco, while Dixon stayed at the men's shelter next door.
But as early as today, Munson said they hope to hear that they have been approved for the Kennewick apartment she found.
The family moved to Richland from Okanogon County in November 2006 after the company Dixon worked for closed and laid off its employees, Munson said. He stayed at home with Jorden, and Munson worked. Then, in February, Munson was laid off from her job as a housekeeping supervisor and front desk agent at a local hotel.
At first, Munson said she wasn't worried. She never had a problem finding work before. But then she couldn't find a job, and a month after being laid off, she got pregnant, which wasn't planned.
Dixon, who continues to search for a job, has had no luck, she said. Munson stopped job hunting at about six months pregnant, assuming no one would hire someone who would need maternity leave so soon, she said.
After they went through their savings, Dixon and Munson were evicted July 5 from their Richland apartment.
Munson said they have been at the mission since Sept. 8. They also stayed for one week in July, and for a while lived at Munson's mother's home in Richland. One week, the Benton Franklin Community Action Committee, or CAC, provided them a motel room.
Munson said they applied for housing help with CAC 41/2 months ago. They recently were approved, and Munson said that she found an apartment that will accept the voucher, which will pay 70 percent of the rent for three months.
The family is on the waiting list for Section 8 housing in Kennewick and Pasco, Munson said. She applied in June.
But those lists are long, according to officials. For example, the Kennewick Housing Authority's waiting list for various programs ranges from six months to two years.
Munson is hopeful Dixon will find a job. He is getting help from an employment agency, she said. Right now, their income is $286 per month from the Temporary Assistance for Need Families program.
Munson said she thought the mission would be a bed and a shower. But she has discovered the shelter provides more, including her maternity clothes and some needed items for the new baby.
And the mission transformed a storage room at the women's shelter into a room where Munson and Jorden now live, with some furniture slid against the wall, waiting for the new baby.
The mission staff also has helped with the search for jobs and housing, including working with Dixon to update his rsum, Munson said.
And they have helped Dixon and Munson have time to coordinate with the curfews at the men's and women's shelters and caring for Jorden when Munson hasn't been feeling well, she said.
The mission recently added two employees to the women's shelter, bringing it to three, with the goal of providing more case management and assistance to families, said Andrew Porter, the mission's assistant executive director.
Jorden has been able to participate in after-school programs with the Boys & Girls Club of Benton and Franklin Counties and receives vouchers for the YMCA of the Greater Tri-Cities. That stems from new partnerships the mission has created, Porter said.
It is difficult for Jorden, a kindergartner at Pasco's Captain Gray Early Learning Center, his mom said.
They recently passed the area where they once lived, and Munson said Jorden told her, "I'll keep the house clean if we can just move back in." He has talked about how his friends at school have homes, not a shelter, she added.
But, she said, "he has amazing perseverance."