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Awesome Story: Rams’ Tavon Austin & Robert Quinn Furnish Apartment for Single Mother of 6 Who Was Homeless
Not everyone gets the same breaks in life. So when you’re well off, it’s a wonderful gesture when you can pay it forward to a person in need and help them ease the pain of the everyday struggles in life.
Los Angeles Rams WR Tavon Austin & DE Robert Quinn did that recently for a homeless single mother by reaching into their own bank accounts and furnishing an apartment for the struggling mother.
“The Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin was standing inside a four-bedroom apartment located in a neighborhood called Sun Valley, nestled in the northeast section of Los Angeles. Austin and teammate Robert Quinn had spent more than $20,000 from their own bank accounts to furnish this place for a single mother named Rebecca Carter, who had just been reunited with her six young children and was doing her best to put six years of periodic homelessness behind her.
It was Quinn, a sixth-year defensive end, who initially contacted the Rams’ community-relations department because he wanted to go above and beyond for the holidays. So about 10 days ago, the Rams reached out to United Way of Greater Los Angeles, which then touched base with LA Family Housing, an organization that serves as something of a bridge from homelessness to permanent housing.
They told Quinn about Carter. About how she suffered through sexual assault, about the mental-health challenges it created, about homelessness forcing her to surrender custody of five kids, about how she was pregnant with a sixth child when she arrived at LA Family Housing, and about the resilience and determination she displayed while in the program.
“Once they told me the full story, and what she was going through, and how young the kids were, I just kind of took a step back and kind of put myself in their shoes,” Quinn said. “If someone gave me an opportunity to restart, how appreciative would I be to them? I think it just starts with one person, one soul, one spirit. It starts there.”
It started at about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, when Carter arrived at the door of her new apartment, which falls under Section 8 housing.
She walked in with her children — Dynah, 12, Erick, 11, Derrick, 9, Patrick, 8, Garrick, 7, and Ariel, 18 months — and saw every single item on a wish list she filled out days ago.
In the kitchen was everything she could ever need, from a refrigerator to a crock pot to even a stand mixer. She turned the corner and saw a brand new dining table holding a gift basket. The rooms all had beds and the bathrooms were fully decorated. In the living room was a sectional couch and a coffee table. And in the corner was a Christmas tree with presents spilling out from underneath.
The kids got clothes, school supplies, toys and gaming systems. The four boys received bicycles. The oldest girl, Dynah, was gifted a tablet to help fulfill her dream of becoming a pediatrician. Mom received a laptop, printer, clothes and makeup. She wants to go back to school for cosmetology.
“A new beginning,” Carter said of what all this represented. “A new start. No more worrying. No more stress. No more depression. It’s over. I’m with my family. We’re all together, and I’m happy.”
Quinn and Austin saw the box for a 40-inch flat-screen TV in the living room and were not satisfied. As the commotion ensued, they drove to a local Target and purchased a 55-inch screen to go along with it. After the tour was finished, Austin reached into his pocket and pulled out tickets to Saturday’s home game against the San Francisco 49ers.
“And the concession stand is kind of expensive,” Quinn said, pulling out a stack of $100 bills, “so here’s some cash to help you out.”
Carter slept on buses, benches and parks before spending the past 10 months with LA Family Housing. Sometimes friends would welcome her into their home, but only for a night or two. Other times, on rare occasions, she met strangers who would lend a couch. The goal each day was merely to survive, to get a little bit closer to being reunited with her children and living a normal life.”