CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WLNS) — Rob and Joanna Ripley have been faced with so much over the past few years.
The Charlotte couple lost their daughter to COVID-19 last year.
Before that, Joanna beat breast cancer, which left her unable to work.
Now, the Ripley’s can’t even keep a roof over their heads.
“Yep, this is where we live,” said Rob Ripley.
The two have been collecting cans from the Charlotte community to stay afloat.
“If we fill it up, and it’s usually filled up it’s about $230 to $260 dollars,” said Rob.
Since January, they have gone from shelter to motels and now the money is running out, leaving them with the only choice: to live out of Rob’s car.
This has been the couple’s home for almost two weeks.
Back in 2018, Joanna was diagnosed with breast cancer, and Rob had a heart attack last year.
Just seven months before that in January, they say their special needs daughter, Carrie, caught COVID-19 and died. She was 21 years old.
The Ripley’s say the pain of losing her is too hard to describe.
“That was so unexpected. We couldn’t even be up there when she died,” said Joanna. “We had to say bye to her over the phone. It’s like I almost wish it was me that passed and not her.”
And the Ripley’s aren’t alone. Statistics show hundreds of thousands of people have similar stories.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, more than 326,000 people have experienced homelessness in the U.S. on a single night in 2021.
The executive director at the City Rescue Mission in Lansing says their facility took in more than 115 people just last night.
“They’re often just hard-working people that maybe something bad happened to them,” said Mark Chriss, executive director for the City Rescue Mission. “Maybe their car broke down, they couldn’t get to work, they lost their job, they lost their housing. Or maybe they didn’t have a network of people to help them.”
Luckily, the people of Charlotte have really stepped up to help the Ripley’s as they work to get back on their feet.
“They’ve done so much for us. Even more than family,” said Joanna. “It’s been great.”
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