Reflecting on his own life is hard for Keith Murphy. The 34-year-old father of three experienced a childhood full of painful memories. Years in the foster care system and subsequent abuse made Keith feel as though he would never find a real family. That is until he met Kelli, his wife, in high school.
“I still remember the exact moment we met,” Keith said. “She got off the bus and I walked her home. From that day forward, my life changed.”
Keith and Kelli fell in love fast but struggled financially. Keith didn’t finish high school and had a hard time finding steady work, bouncing around from job to job as a mover and day laborer, and landing various gigs through temp agencies.
As their family grew, the rising cost of living in Austin made it nearly impossible for them to find a home they could afford. Then, Keith was laid off from a health care job when business slowed down. Keith, Kelli, and their three children ended up moving into a 2-bedroom apartment with Kelli’s mother. The entire family stayed in one room and the lack of space and freedom took a toll on all of them.
It turns out our Trails at the Park community was close to where they were staying so Keith and Kelli enrolled their daughters, Ramiyah and Pfenix, in our after-school program. As Kelli learned more about our housing, she discovered that they qualified for our Children’s Home Initiative (CHI) program for extremely low-income families. The family was accepted and moved to our new Lakeline Station community in Northwest Austin last December, just in time for Christmas.
“My kids were the first to play on the beautiful playground,” Keith said.
Since living at Lakeline, Kelli has secured a better job at a health insurance company, the kids are thriving in school, and, as soon as they find affordable childcare for Keith Junior, their son, Keith plans to attend barber college.
“Living at Lakeline has opened so many doors for us,” Keith said. “Doors that I didn’t even know existed.”
The family meets weekly with an on-site case manager to help set goals and become more financially stable. In addition, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation Learning Center at Lakeline opened this month and Ramiyah and Pfenix will soon attend our summer learning and after- school programs.
For Keith, Kelli, and their children, Lakeline is much more than just a home. It’s a place where they can all live up to their potential and dream big.
“My kids are my world, and I’m determined that when they look back on their lives, their childhood memories will be full of joy instead of pain,” Keith said. “I want them to be happy and healthy and know that we’ll always be there for them.”