Ebony Rhodes and her four children lived in her car for six months after failing to make a deposit on their apartment. Rhodes had fallen ill and couldn’t make enough money for the payment, forcing her and her family to eat, sleep, play, and live full-time out of her 1997 Buick Regal.
“A lot of times I didn’t sleep, because the kids were asleep,” Rhodes told CNN. “I was watching to make sure nothing happened.”
In a turn of events, Rhodes’ life changed the day she was pulled over by an Atlanta police officer. She was taking her kids to the library to study for their finals when she was pulled over for an expired tag. Rhodes knew her license wasn’t good either. The officer impounded her vehicle and arrested her. But that was only the beginning.
Rhodes’ story made its way through the Atlanta Police Department, eventually getting to Deputy Chief Jeff Glazier. He immediately wanted to take action. Glazier made good of his expansive network, remembering he’d met the director of a family homeless shelter in a precinct he had recently commanded. He proceeded to make a life-changing phone call.
“I called her up and said, ‘Listen I’ve got a family of five including three boys and a girl, and he’s 17.’ And she goes, ‘Yeah I have some room.’ And if you know anything about shelters in the middle of winter, there’s nothing available and she had something available. I couldn’t believe it.”
When Rhodes got the news, she was overwhelmed with emotion. She had tried getting into shelters for a long time with no luck. But Glazier was determined that this would only be a temporary solution.
More than a year after her arrest, Rhodes and her family are living inside a home. She is able to afford an apartment and works as an assistant manager at a fast food restaurant. Rhodes says the relationship she and her children have developed with Glazier and the Atlanta PD is a “blessing.”
They have set up a GoFundMe account to help keep Rhodes and her family from experiencing homelessness again.
“We want to pay for rent, we want to pay for food and transportation…It’s not going to end just because we give her a little bit of money. It’s about getting through the hard times, having someone to talk to and seamen to lean on, to get advice from.”