HARD TIMES: Family of 7 calls a tent in desert home

A family of seven is calling a tent in the desert near Apache Junction home, after falling on hard times. 

The parents said they have looked for work, tried room sharing, and have tried to seek help from the State, but have had no luck.

While many people go to the Tonto National Forest for recreation, or to spend some good quality time in the great outdoors, for the Clark family, it's home.

"They're tough," said Andrew Clark. "For them, this is not as hard for them as it is for us, but I think they're done camping at this point."

A game of catch, a few tunes on the piano, play time with the family pup, these are all the ingredients for a perfect family camping trip. It is, however, anything buy that for the Clarks.

A tent, the family truck, as well as $150 is all the family has.

"You feel kind of vulnerable when you're camping," said Suzanne Clark, Andrew's wife. "You don't have a door you can close and lock."

Andrew, along with Suzanne and their five children came to Arizona at the beginning of 2017, after falling on hard times in Texas. They came to work and live on a property, but unfortunately, it didn't pan out. Since then they've been trying to get help from several organizations, and are living in the tent, while waiting for that help to come through.

"Obviously, if we've been on the waiting list this long, there are many other families that are waiting too," said Suzanne.

The family continues to look for work.

"The problem is the cycle," said Suzanne. "You can't find work when you don't have anywhere to live. You can't find anywhere to live when you don't have work."   

"I've done handyman work. I've worked on a dairy in East Texas. I've loaded beef cattle," said Andrew. "I've worked in house. I've worked in the field, doing cable installations."

Both Andrew and Suzanne said they can pass background and drug tests, and they're not looking for a hand out, just a hand up to get their family out of the desert, and into a home.  

"I want a 401k again," said Andrew. "I don't want to rely on the government to give me money for food. I want to be able to provide for my family."

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