One homeless couple were terrified to discover they were expecting a baby on the streets so when the shelter finally accepted them they thought they could relax however after officials told them their newborn would be unable to stay there they found themselves back at square one bernadette ortiz and ricardo lopez found love in a hopeless place both of them were living in a homeless Encampment known as the jungle in san jose california when they met one another although their journeys differed they had both wound up in the same abysmal situation
when the couple met in 2012 it had been seven years since lopez had his own place to call home he first wound up Homeless after quitting his job working as a soil inspector meanwhile ortiz had found herself without a home following domestic disputes with her husband both ortiz and lopez had families of their own ortiz had four children with their ex but hadn’t seen them since becoming homeless lopez meanwhile was a dad to a grown-up daughter but they had also lost touch with each other however despite these similarities it wasn’t until authorities disbanded the jungle In 2014 that their love affair got going that’s when ortiz went to live in lopez’s tent their relationship soon turned romantic and the couple became inseparable the life on the street made
their union complicated since the couple had no spare money for birth control ortiz fell pregnant with lopez’s child in early 2017 they had never intended to conceive a baby now the reality of raising a little life with no home to call their own started to weigh heavily On their minds when the city eventually removed the couple’s tent they went on to live at a shelter run by the grace baptist church the church offered to keep a roof over ortiz and lopez’s heads until their baby was born however after that they would no longer be able to stay there according to church officials the shelter was unable to care for a newborn there’s no one at the church who could watch the children during the time parents have to take care of themselves Phil master kola an outreach worker
at the church told the mercury news in september 2017 it is a safety concern with nowhere to go the couple faced the terrifying prospect of raising their baby on the streets once more i don’t know what i’m going to do ortiz said i don’t want to raise the baby in a tent where police can sweep us my biggest fear is that i’m going to lose her that they’re going to take her away from me the couple didn’t have any family to Turn to ortiz hadn’t been in contact with her parents in years and was too frightened to ask for their help meanwhile lopez’s loved ones were local to san jose but had no space for him and his expanding family one of the only options open to the couple was trying a local family shelter however such facilities don’t regularly accept unmarried men that’s because many women at family shelters have experienced abuse at home therefore staff have to
Ensure residents don’t feel intimidated by the presence of a male in their living area as a result lopez was seriously considering living apart from his partner and baby so that they could find shelter i know living outside is no place for a child he explained i don’t want to leave her but i have to do what’s best for the baby and if i have to sleep in a tent outside so be it ortiz and lopez had Pretty much lost hope when catholic charities of santa clarita county approached them the organization helps families and individuals living in poverty and although its values have their basis in gospel teachings it works with people from all religious backgrounds when staff heard about ortiz and lopez’s plight they knew the charity had to step in the woman is about to give birth and they’d be homeless it sounded a lot to me like the holy family Ceo gregory kefferlay said mary
was homeless and gave birth to jesus in a stable here is a family in a very similar situation 2000 years later as a faith-based organization we have to help through a landlord it works with regularly catholic charities was able to find the couple’s studio apartment they would be able to live there without paying rent until they found employment and that wasn’t the only way that the organization were willing to help they Have a long journey ahead of them to stabilize their living situation and get employment and make sure the child has a stable life growing up carefully explained we’ve got a community that’s willing to wrap their arms around this family my hope is we can do this for many other families so thanks to the charity the couple’s child was born with
a roof over her head and a full support system born nearly two weeks late the couple named their daughter serenity Michelle after ortiz’s late sister she weighed a healthy eight pounds and according to lopez she was their miracle baby with a new baby to love and people rooting for them ortiz and lopez had a second shot at family life i get to raise her in a different way than i raise my other kids in a much better environment ortiz said this is a chance to make up for mistakes i made with my other kids now that they had the basics Covered ortiz and lopez
could finally start looking forward to the future in order to provide for his family lopez was considering working nights as a janitor that way he could care for serenity during the daytime meanwhile ortiz hopes to use her experience to help out in the homeless community i’ll never forget where i came from she explained it puts a smile on homeless people’s faces to know there is someone who cares for me out there.