Once Homeless, Now I’m Prospering

By Kristine Hansen | Photo courtesy The Road Home

After being stalked in Milwaukee as retaliation for reporting a sexual assault of a family member, Lai’Kita Buie knew she could no longer raise her three children there.

Fearing her family’s future while they were harassed, and facing homelessness, she called 211 in the fall of 2021 and was connected with The Road Home, a Madison nonprofit that matches families up with safe, affordable housing. Buie notes she was familiar with the organization as her sister also received assistance from The Road Home around 16 years ago.

While Buie waited for the paperwork and housing search to be completed by The Road Home, she lived with her four-year-old daughter at the YWCA in Madison. (Her two older children, ages 13 and 12, were living with their father at the time.)

“Living at the YWCA was very different. We had shared kitchens and laundry. We had assigned days that we had to clean the shared space, and there were days where I dreaded it, because … everyone doesn’t have the same way of cleaning or [a standard of ] what clean is,” says Buie.

Now, Buie comes home to a brand-new apartment — she and her children are its first occupants.

“It is amazing to come from a situation where you don’t have a roof over your head to having a roof that is brand-new. There are so many people that dream of having a brand-new home,” she says.

With secure housing, her life feels grounded and stable. It’s allowed her to set goals and dream for the future.

“I didn’t get to have a lot of things growing up. [Now] I’m able to do different things for my children. Having affordable housing is allowing that in my life — it’s allowing me to be a full-time student and a part-time employee and still be able to provide for my children,” she says.

Recently, she paid for her youngest child’s field trip to Schuster’s Farm — and paid for another student to go as a small way to give back, also serving as that child’s chaperone.

She’s earning her associate degree in art therapy at Madison College, where she’s also a part-time student RISE advisor. Reflecting on her situation, she’s determined to pay things forward.

“I am going to become an art therapist,” she says. “I am able to pursue my higher education in a field that is not only going to benefit me and my family, but others.”

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