Lakesha Schonfeld was in jail when she found out she was going to give birth to twins. She had just lost her apartment and had no money for baby clothes or a place to live when she was released.
“That’s my kids being affected by my mistakes,” she said. “Everybody deserves a second chance.”
Schonfeld was raised by her mother, who was a recovering addict when she died of a heart attack. Schonfeld was 16 years old. Fending for herself from then on Schonfeld fell into addiction and crime.
She had two other children at the time and struggled to support them and pay rent. Eventually she began shoplifting clothes for her kids, which led to her incarceration.
“In there, if you don’t have a home-plan you’re not gettin’ out,” she said. Schonfeld applied to Liberty House at the YWCA and was approved for housing. Her goal was to get back on her feet and provide her kids with a life of stability.
“Not only did I have nowhere to go, I got nothing for them. Not a blanket, nothin,’ ”
She said. “When I came here they (Liberty House) kind of provided that for me.”
But turning her life around is tough. With a criminal history it’s hard to find a job or housing, she said.
“When people think I’m homeless sometimes they think they’re better than me,” Schonfeld said. “I wish people would look at the person I am today, instead of who I was, or what my criminal record says I am.”
Regardless of others’ perceptions, Schonfeld said she will continue to fight for a home and a place to raise her kids.
“I made a mistake and I paid for it,” she said. “I think I should have a second chance.”