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Monday, August 30, 2010 - Page updated at 10:41 a.m.

The backstory

Jacob Smith, 35, is in a waiting game. Already approved to move into transitional housing with his three children, now 8, 4 and 20 months, but waiting for an opening, the single father is trying to care for his children while living in an emergency shelter in Everett.

Smith was laid off from a food services job in October. He said he had a history of weekend drug use and that his wife had more serious substance-abuse problems. The couple lost custody of two of their children. As he had to make monthly payments to the state for child support, Smith believed he could no longer afford rent and moved into his car.

In January, Smith's wife and youngest son were accepted into emergency housing at the Interfaith Shelter in Everett. In February, Smith joined them. After he accused his wife of a violent outburst, she was asked to leave the shelter.

Smith has cut ties with his wife and is filing for divorce. He has regained custody of his two oldest children and now lives at the shelter with all three of his kids. As a single father, however, there are fewer resources available to him. Smith has been accepted into a transitional housing apartment, but is waiting for the current tenant to move out. As the current tenant will not move out until there is an opening in Section 8 housing, Smith does not know how long he will need to continue living at the shelter.

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