[Quick note for my regular readers: the January issue of Christian Fiction Online Magazine just posted. My article this month: Writing the Prologue--Part I. Also Cornhusker Academy blog has posted an interview with me.]
For those of you just joining this story of Katy & Liz, here is the background in a nutshell:
Liz has been a reader of my suspense novels for four to five years now. She has been struggling financially for some time. Each time a book of mine released, I'd send her a free copy. Liz would always reply with a handwritten, gracious letter. She's been wonderfully encouraging to me.
Liz's daughter, Katy, a smart girl and talented artist, is now 16. A few days before New Years, Katy and her mom became homeless and were living in their car. Katy began blogging about their experience. When Liz emailed me of their plight, I had to help. Using my network on this blog, Facebook and Twitter, I began spreading the word about Katy and Liz. Unfortunately they are just two of the many working poor who've tipped into homelessness. Katy's blog, Anywhere But Here, was putting a face on this problem in our country.
Soon many wonderful people got involved. I could not have done this alone. Julie Bonn Heath of JBH Marketing used her PR skills to contact the media. Mostly, God was in control and answering the desperate prayers of Katy and Liz. Folks started spreading the word and stepping in to help. I set up ways to donate, and money began coming in. Jessica Rosenberg got to Katy and Liz that first night when I could not, and gave them money for a motel. (Follow the links to read Julie's and Jessica's thoughtful posts about their experience in getting involved--could you do something similar for a homeless family?) The next day I was able to get to Liz and Katy, bringing my own donation and donations from many others. By that time the local ABC and NBC stations had stepped in, and that night they ran their stories. The following day--New Years Day--CNN picked up the story. The next day (yesterday) Good Morning America called. They will interview Katy and Liz next week. (Check back here for updates on which day.)
Katy and Liz are out of their car, but they need permanent housing and employment for Liz. (She has health issues, and is unable to do a job that requires a lot of standing. She does have experience in office work.) To donate, please send a check to Elizabeth Hughes, P.O. Box 111525, Campbell, CA 95011. Or send through Paypal to: hugheselizabeth (@) rocketmail (dot) com.
Homeless people are in your neighborhood. What can you do to help? One person can make a difference.
For all the details on how this story unfolded, go back to my post on Tuesday, Dec. 30 and read forward. The posts contain all relevant links and pictures.
All of Liz and Katy's things have now been moved into storage. They remain in their motel, very busy. Katy is responding to many emails, requests to write articles, etc. Liz is working with Rick Acker, a Deputy Attorney General in the California Dept. of Justice (and an author friend of mine) who has offered his time to update her resume. He's been and will continue to be an amazing help.
Check back here Monday for real-time updates. By end of that day we will know the airing date of the Good Morning America show.
Please check Katy's blog for her new post, answering readers' questions.
Here are some other blogs with posts about this story:
Kimberly Woodhouse (This author and her family, including their very sick daughter, had the privilege of being on Extreme Makeover--Home Edition.)
Renovation Therapy is running an auction on small craft items, with all benefits going to Katy and Liz.
2:20 p.m.: Katy needs advice from any artists out there regarding how to charge for creating a blog/Twitter avatar. Please leave a comment if you can help.
2:25 p.m.: Liz needs help with clothes for job interviews and needs some coaching for best presenting herself. If you know anyone in the San Jose, CA area who can help coach in this area, please leave a comment.