Formerly homeless mom has one Christmas wish for her children

HAYWARD, Calif. -- From afar this family looks like any other. They bake, decorate the tree and support each other. But, none of the moms living together at a Hayward home are blood-related.

Instead, they say they can relate to each other's pain. All of them are transitioning from homelessness.

Aisha Esa is 19-months sober. Three months ago she was reunited with her 7-year-old daughter, Lilly. This Christmas is special to them. Aisha and Lilly are starting over with a roof over their heads and building memories together.

"I wanted my daughter back in my life and I needed a home to be able to begin to recreate my life with her," said Esa.

According to Kim Cater with the Time for Change Foundation, not every homeless mom or recovering addict is this lucky.

"In Alameda County over 85% of the women who are trying to reunite with their children face the challenge of being housing insecure," said Carter.

In 18 years the Time for Change Foundation has helped close to 300 children reunite with their moms. Their main homes are in San Diego and their first Bay Area home is in Hayward.

"In this location, we do financial education, money management, we do anger management, self-esteem workshops," said Carter.

Under the tree, there are no Christmas presents yet. Their biggest wish is to have more than a bed.

"My wish is to have affordable housing and have somewhere where I can lay my head," said Esa.

Carter says she has a plan to expand and build 23 units but all she needs now is the money and is hoping for Christmas miracle.
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