HOUSTON – Maria Baez is a Houston area mother desperately trying to hold it together for her son, herself and their two dogs.
Holding it together in the face of losing her job during the pandemic and having to live for the past seven months in their SUV seeking free meals, gas money and other help from strangers.
Maria’s 16-year-old son recently started online learning and logging on for classes from parking lots during the day.
“What really worries me is my son,” she said. “I mean, it’s kind of a punishment. It’s kind of a punishment for anybody living like this.”
After suffering health problems, falling behind on rent, and getting evicted in February Maria says she lost her job cleaning houses.
Then: the COVID-19 crisis hit.
“It was difficult for me to find a job. In my desperation I started selling food,” she said fighting back tears. “It was really difficult because it’s really difficult to be cooking all the food, preparing everything, then go to sell on the streets.”
What’s been extremely difficult is not being able to part with their dogs Sugar and Bobby. Homeless shelters won’t allow them and animal shelters say Maria would have to surrender the dogs permanently. Letting them loose on their own -- for her -- just isn’t an option.