FRESNO, California (KSEE) — A Fresno organization is giving hope to children living in motels along Parkway Drive.
“Live Again Fresno” started back in 2012. Since then, it has been serving children whose living situation is out of their control to give them a safe place to be kids. It is focused on helping children living any of the 15 motels on the west side of Fresno’s Highway 99.
“They’re operating like a what we call a slumlord traditionally and this area also serves as the epicenter of drugs and prostitution in Fresno,” said Jed Soberal, Director for Planning and Development.
While many adults find themselves living there because of life circumstances, their children don’t get to choose.
“When we go pick them up to come over here they just run up to you and they’re just so excited to see you, they’re so excited to get out of their room for three hours,” said Alma Escarsega, parent-partner with Live Again Fresno.
Escarsega knows the motel life all too well: at just 16 years old she says her family moved into one. She then found herself living there with her five children at 33-years-old.
“It’s just hard to find housing because everywhere we go they want three or four times the rent and right now I’m the only one bringing in income for my family so that’s how we ended up out there,” Escarsega said.
The organization was accepted as a youth empowerment center by the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health last year. This provides the funding to start a parent partner program.
Mothers like Escarsega are not only working to provide a better life for her kids, she now works for the organization.
“This place is amazing, it brings hope, it brings life,” said Escarsega.