From homeless to a new home: 'We got through it because we loved each other'

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SEATTLE -- Sitting on a playground bench, a few hundred feet from his townhouse, Anthony Battiste watched his four sons race around.

The boys, ages 2 to 9, went up and down the slide.

As the boys played, Battiste, 56, said it was something he couldn’t have dreamed of a year ago.

The family had been homeless for about year. They lived in California and Colorado before moving to Washington late last year ago after Battiste said his wife left them.

Battiste said he brought his boys to Washington so they could be closer to his mother who was at a Kent nursing home before she passed away. They spent months at a Mary’s Place shelter with some 300 families before late last week, when they moved into their own home.

“We got through it because we love each other and it’s what we had to do, but the decisions were tough,” Battiste said.

Every corner of the four-bedroom townhouse is furnished, from the Batman and Spiderman sheets in the room shared by the two youngest – Abraham and Alvin. To the knickknack vases and floral arrangements and artwork featuring positive sayings.

Family photos line the walls, colorful pillows adorn the sofa and the kitchen is stocked with pots and pans.

Battiste said that when he was handed the keys the home was empty. But after a team from Microsoft and Humble Design, a Michigan non-profit focusing on furnishing homes for the homeless, were finished it was a cozy place for the five of them.

The former roofer, left injured after a fall, said his faith and non-stop desire to help his boys got him through the past year. As he watched the boys pedal, scoot and climb on Monday he smiled.

“Five days we’ve been at home,” Battiste said.

KOMO met the Battiste family at a Seattle gas station last year. Battiste was exhausted, he had been spending his days shuttling his eldest sons to school, taking one child to Seattle Children’s to meet with doctors about his neurological disorder all while he tended to 1-year-old Alvin, the baby of the bunch.

“It took a lot of grit. There were times I was running on nothing but fumes,” Anthony said.

When KOMO visited the family at their Mary’s Place room in January, Battiste calmly convinced his children to get dressed, eat a snack and keep things tidy. The five shared three beds. Battiste, at the time, was thankful but said the only thing he cared about was having a place where he could make his sons breakfast.

Thinking back to just a few months ago, Battiste said “sometimes I used to have to make the decision, was I going to have enough money to eat and enough money to take care of their daily needs.”

Mary's Place