Homelessness keeps Oahu family apart

Published On: Mar 29 2012 10:50:22 AM HST   Updated On: Mar 29 2012 11:07:54 AM HST
WAIANAE, Hawaii -

Nearly 2-year-old Ahtanaya Wilson doesn't seem to have a care in the world as she rides around the Paiolu Kaiaulu homeless shelter with her parents. But this was not how things were supposed to turn out for the Wilson family.

"We didn't expect any of this.  It's been a journey and we want this journey to end.  We want our family home," said Tabatha Wilson.

Tabatha and Rodney Wilson moved to Hawaii five months ago, after the health of their youngest daughter Tamiyah started to improve. Tamiyah was born two-and-a-half months premature with heart and lung problems, along with liver disease.

Once they arrived here, Tamiyah's condition got worse. Since November, she has been at the Kapiolani Medical Center.

"We miss our daughter so much. We don't want her in a hospital, we want her to come home," said Tabatha.

Just a month after Tamiyah went back into the hospital, the family was dealt another difficult blow.
"I had a stroke and it canceled all of our plans. I had just got a job and so I couldn't work," said Rodney, who is only 42 years old and now struggling be able to walk again.

His stroke did more than put him in a wheelchair, it also knocked the entire family off their financial and emotional feet.

"I can't stand seeing my wife go through what she has to handle. I'm sick, my daughter is sick. My child is in the hospital and that little girl has been through so much since she was born," said Rodney.

The Wilsons are grateful to have landed at the Waianae Civic Center, a transitional housing facility for the homeless.  Now, the three share a 10-by-10 foot room as they miss Tamiyah, who has been steadily improving over the past few months.

"She's ready to come home, but she can't come here," said Tabatha.

Because Tamiyah is medically fragile, catching a simple cold could have serious or even deadly consequences -- she can't stay at the shelter and the family can't afford a place of their own.

Medical problems have damaged the Wilson's credit. Right now, the family struggles just paying for all the gas to get from Waianae to Honolulu to visit their daughter.

Rodney said he hopes to be walking again before May. He felt if someone helped them get into an apartment, they'll be able to afford around $800 to $900 a month for rent. Then their entire family could live together again.

"It has been stressful and overwhelming. It has been a journey. We would like to finally be reunited with our daughter, so we can be at ease," said Tabatha.


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