When you first meet Consuello and Michael, you’re immediately embraced by their beaming smiles and loving adoration for one another. Their bond is strong and resilient, a gift they received by having survived homelessness together.
Their story begins in 2012. After several setbacks and no place to go, Consuello’s only option was a hotel that was filled with crime and filth. As unimaginable as it may sound the streets became her best chance. With the loss of housing, she was hit with the devastating blow of losing her daughter. Her life was filled by traveling from one shelter to another, always on the move, never sure where she would rest her head at night.
Michael arrived into her life, and they had one another to rely on. However, they did not have a home to share. The best they could do was bunker down at an abandoned warehouse. Their location offered isolation from the crime but not from the outside elements.
They took shelter just outside the warehouse where a large satellite tower loomed. In the beginning, they slept with rocks beneath their backs. One morning they awoke to discover they had been attacked by ants during the night. Consuello had large welts all along her arms. After this they would sleep fully clothed and with socks on their hands, hoping to stop the nightly attacks of insects. Michael was able to locate a piece of wood, so they would not have to sleep on the rocks and the ground and then he discovered a box spring. The weather was even worse than the insects. The nightly Florida thunderstorms would roll in, leaving them drenched and frightened.
During the day, they would have to stay constantly on the move for fear of being arrested if they stayed in one area to long. Through all of this, they remained together, holding on to their love and faith.
When they met Joe Johnson from Ability Housing, they said their prayers had been answered. Now supplied with a safe home at Village on Wiley and accessible resources they began to rebuild. The first step, they married in February 2016. With their relationship solidified they went about making plans to empower themselves with the resources now at their disposal.
Today, Consuello has a driver’s license and a car; they are both working with the Vocational Center to get training for part-time jobs. An education seemed like an unattainable dream when they were homeless, yet both are now enrolled at Edward Waters College. With the support of Ability Housing, their future is as bright as their smiles.