Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Archives - StoryCorps

Nick Hodges and Charlotte Wheelock

In 2014, Nick Hodges and his wife, Charlotte Wheelock, were living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with their 4- and 6-year-old sons when Nick developed a condition—spinal stenosis—that caused him to be temporarily paralyzed from the waist down.

Already struggling to make ends meet, Charlotte took a leave of absence from her job to care for their children while Nick was hospitalized, and without any steady income, their family lost their home.

Charlotte heard about a job opportunity in another state, so their family packed up and relocated to Seattle, Washington, hoping for a new start. But before they could establish themselves in their new city, Nick ended up back in the hospital leaving their family once again unable to pay rent.

Homeless for 14 months, Charlotte eventually found steady work—she is now employed at one of the shelters the family once lived in—and in time they also managed to find affordable housing for their family.

At StoryCorps, Charlotte and Nick remember what it was like to be a family without a home.

Originally aired January 1, 2016, on NPR’s Morning Edition.