KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City family is going from homeless, to moving into a new home for the holidays.
Suzanne Gordon and her six-year-old daughter, Zailianna, are spending some of their Christmas morning unwrapping pots, pans and dishes instead of just presents. They're trying to get settled into their new home, which was the best present of all.
"That's the goal next year to have our tree up but right now this is our Christmas and it's great," Gordon said.
Gordon said she was forced to leave her apartment four years ago when her fiance lost his job. She had been living with her mother since then and just wasn't able to get on her own two feet financially. So she signed up for Hillcrest Ministries Transitional Housing Program. It provides a free place to stay for three months, to help save money, in exchange for taking classes in budgeting and life skills.
"The main goal is to help you budget and get your finances so you can get out there and do everything on your own," says Gordon.
She adds that it was terrifying for her at first. She didn't want to fail.
"I didn't want to go through it and end up back where i started from because I wanted my own place," she said.
But Hillcrest didn't just teach her skills. She says it built up her confidence.
"I went from being scared to 'all right, I got this, I'm good' and I am," she said.
Gordon felt that confidence the first time she walked through her front door.
"It was like coming in," she sighs with relief, "I can take care of my kid, I can take care of my family, we can be here together and we're doing it on our own now, it's a beautiful feeling, I love it."
Her daughter Zailianna must see some of that confidence in her mom.
"So proud of my mommy," she said.
Hillcrest has its transitional housing program in Clay and Platte Counties, plus KCK and Eastern Jackson County.
To find out more about the Hillcrest Program, how to apply or how to support the cause, visit hillcresttransitionalhousing.org.