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FAMILY LIVES IN STORAGE UNIT????????

Posted by on Jul. 8, 2011 at 2:15 PM
  • 316 Replies

 

Houston Family Living in Storage Unit Loses Custody of Kids

By Ann Brenoff | Posted Jul 7th 2011 2:39PM 558 comments
living in storage unit

Charlomane and Prince Leonard were doing just fine before the recession hit. But for the past three years, they've been forced to live with their six children in a self-storage unit in northeast Houston -- a situation that they reluctantly accepted until Texas's Child Protective Services came in and took custody of their children this week.

The storage unit that the Leonards have been living in is fully equipped with air conditioning, beds, a refrigerator, microwave, a tub and two computers. What they don't have is running water -- which was part of the reason the CPS came in and removed the children, ages 2 to 12. They kept their water in a 55-gallon drum that Prince Leonard refilled daily. They fill jugs of drinking water at grocery stores and use a "compost" toilet, Charlomane Leonard said.

She said the CPS visit was unexpected. The child protection authorities made their first visit and took the children on the same day, said her husband. She is still nursing her youngest. The children were placed with their maternal grandparents and the Leonards are permitted to see them just six hours a week. A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 16 to determine the family's fate.



The only crime Charlomane Leonard is guilty of, she says, is having fallen on hard times. Her husband recently graduated from community college and has been certified as a welder. And before the recession hit, they earned enough money to buy 50 acres in Liberty County, on which they hope to build a house. "We're waiting on a USDA loan," she said.

The family's fortunes turned when Prince Leonard was injured on the job and unable to work for a period. They stopped being able to afford their rent and took to living in their pickup truck for a while, parking in the Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital overnight under the watchful eye of security guards. They moved into a Star of Hope shelter for three months before moving into the storage unit where they were already storing some of their belongings.

The Leonards have transformed the storage space into a home -- a place that is nicer and safer than the rodent- and crime-infested motels and apartments the family had lived in before discovering the storage facility as a way to weather the recession. Charlomane Leonard and the children plant a garden every summer on land behind the storage facility, harvesting squash, tomatoes, okra and peppers. The older children are enrolled at Texas Connections Academy, a Houston Independent School District on-line school. One of their computers is on loan from the school and none of their children has ever gotten less than a B in school, the couple said.

"We are not criminals, drug abusers or child abusers, just plain old loving parents who are working hard to secure a future for our children," Charlomane Leonard said.

 






Google knows what willis is talkin' about

by on Jul. 8, 2011 at 2:15 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Toughenough1979
by on Jul. 8, 2011 at 2:16 PM

BUMP!

MAXXXX
by on Jul. 8, 2011 at 2:20 PM

i think it's fucked up that they took the kids. the family sounds like they were doing everything they could to keep the kids as safe as possible...

FooLynRoo
by on Jul. 8, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Hmm tough situation. IM not sure I could support removing them from the home they created.

I certainly do not support their parents being allowed to only see them 6 hours a WEEK. Thats kind of uncalled for.

Momof2boyskj
by on Jul. 8, 2011 at 2:21 PM
That's sad. Would they prefer the family to live under a bridge? Sad they took the kids :-(
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karats
by on Jul. 8, 2011 at 2:21 PM

that's so not right. :(

Justine1123
by Justine on Jul. 8, 2011 at 2:22 PM
I cant believe they took there kids they were doing the best they could.
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haleyleedy
by on Jul. 8, 2011 at 2:22 PM
Wow that's so sad
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Momtogirls0823
by Gold Member on Jul. 8, 2011 at 2:22 PM


Quoting MAXXXX:

i think it's fucked up that they took the kids. the family sounds like they were doing everything they could to keep the kids as safe as possible...


I am a busy working mom to two very active girls.  I love my kids, play on the floor in the fort with them, take them to the park, and love them always!  I can't imagine life without them!

school bus       school bus

mommymelissa76
by on Jul. 8, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Wow, thats sad

msjaxon
by Platinum Member on Jul. 8, 2011 at 2:23 PM
So u can live in your car or shelter but not a clean storage unit. And they are only granted 6 hrs a week and has to stop nursing her baby... I don't understand the system...
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