Last December, an Atlanta police officer went to deputy Chief Jeff Glazier with a story so heartbreaking, he was compelled to do something.
The officer told him that a colleague stopped a woman with a suspended license and no insurance and arrested her. Her car was impounded. At the time of the arrest, the officer did not know the woman was homeless and living out of the car with her four young children.
“When I got off work,” Ebony Rhodes told Channel 2 Action News, “we would just sleep right there in the parking lot in my car. A lot of people didn’t know that because I was still going to work.”
Days later, Glazier got the car back and helped Rhodes secure housing.
Ever since then, officers have offered assistance. However, they recently decided they needed to do more and launched an online campaign to raise $15,000 for the family.
“My goal is pay her rent, food, medicine, and transportation for a year so she can continue to work and save money without the stress of wondering if her family will be homeless again,” Glazier wrote on a GoFundMe page he created to solicit donations.
Donors have already contributed more than $10,000 toward the effort.
“For the last year,” Glazier said, “I've watched this strong woman raise her children in the most difficult conditions.”
Health challenges have made homelessness a possibility again.
“When Ebony is sick,” Glazier said, “she cannot work and doesn't get paid.”
Her children have their own battles.
Her youngest daughter suffers from Lupus and is partially blind in one eye. One of her sons has asthma as well as developmental challenges. Another son goes from high school to work to contribute to the family, police said.
Glazier said he is committed to helping the family develop a safety net.
“If we were to let Ebony’s family fail,” he told Channel 2, “I think that would be a failure on us.”
Rhodes said she appreciates the help.
“Atlanta Police Department is my backbone,” she said. “They helped me come a long way.”
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