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Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County

Aired June 16, 2013 - 20:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's homeless in here.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is homeless in here?




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. That's be H-O-M-E-L -- I'll write it down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you can finish it tonight also.

RUDEE, AGE 6, MOTOR INN ROOM 504 RESIDENT: My name is Rudee and I live at the -- I live at the Motor Inn, the motel. When I was on the street, I used to be homeless, and because my dad was trying to look for work and they -- then he got money so we lived in a shelter and then the shelter got us into a program. And then the program -- the program got us into the motel. The first place where I ever slept in is the bushes.


RUDEE: It was like -- it was kind of embarrassing because they had people looking at us.

PELOSI: How come your parents don't work?

RUDEE: Well, my dad does.

PELOSI: What does he do?

RUDEE: He's a mechanic. That he works on cars.

PELOSI: What is home to you?

RUDEE: Home? I don't really know what that means.

PELOSI: So why are you still living in a motel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The rent in Orange County is very expensive. For a studio room it's probably like $1300, $1500. This is actually cheap. $870 a month is cheap. We could afford that. I don't think we could afford more than $870. That's why -- we're scared to move out. I'm scared to move out. I don't know about Rudee's dad but I know I'm scared to move out because I don't want to be on the street again.

PELOSI: But why do you live in Orange County if you can't afford to live here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because we've lived in Orange County all our lives. So we don't know where else -- where would we live? My parents were middle class. We don't come from people that were on welfare or low income. We come from -- all my brothers and sisters own houses. I'm like the poorest one in the family.

PELOSI: But do you think living in this hotel is damaging Rudee?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I think it depends on the -- the person themselves because what happens inside here is a family environment.

PELOSI: You are saying it doesn't matter where you live to have a home?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. It could even be your car. Like our car was Rudee's house, her room. I had it, like, fixed up with little dollies on one side.


You know, to make it like a little home for her.

RUDEE: Ready, begin. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Project Hope was a school that was set up for children that were homeless. For those families that don't have a permanent residence and so no matter where they go from shelter A to shelter B and they've lived in this park and they live in this motel all in the same school year, they stay in one location, which is Project Hope. They don't have to keep changing districts. So what we're looking at with them is that they need a little bit more tender loving care.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your favorite food?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my favorite is --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Favorite color? As soon as the third graders have done their mountain math can you go to SRA?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So how many times is eight going to 16?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we understand if you come to school and you're wearing the same clothes for 30 days, nobody is going to make fun of you. (CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Maybe I can do my hair in a Mohawk. All right. Let's go. Mohawks first. Let's go.

We have the buses from the Boys and Girls Club that our foundation pays to go around every morning and pick up the children, and then they take them home in the evening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you playing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cops and robbers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So no matter where they go, and if they move tonight, we make arrangements for the bus stops to be changed depending on where they are and what bus stops they need.

DYLAN HAYES, AGE 9, MOTOR INN ROOM 216 RESIDENT: It all started when our mom died and we got kicked out. And we went to go live with a friend. She kicked us out and then we ended up here. So we're going to Hope school for the summer.

PELOSI: Why are you wearing tap shoes?

DEANNA HAYES, AGE 7, MOTOR INN ROOM 216 RESIDENT: Oh, they're my favorite.

PELOSI: Do you know how to tap dance?


DYLAN HAYES: I like to climb stuff. I usually climb trees and stuff, and I climb up roofs. People say it's too dangerous, but I'm not scared. We try to keep it as quiet as we can. We are just trying to have fun. We're just kids. We better get down. The old woman, that we call the wicked witch, might yell. So we've got to go downstairs because my sister is making too much noise and we don't want the old woman who we call the wicked witch to call downstairs. That's why.

DEANNA HAYES: I don't like the wicked witch. She's a -- she's mean. She won't let us play.

DYLAN HAYES: We can't play because my dad doesn't want her to call. So we could get kicked out.

PELOSI: If you could have one wish come true this summer, what would it be?

DYLAN HAYES: Redo my life.


PELOSI: Who is the smartest brother?

BEN DEZKAN, AGE 7, MOTOR INN ROOM 307 RESIDENT: I am because I'm going to second grade. DYLAN DEZKAN, AGE 9, MOTOR INN ROOM 307 RESIDENT: I am because I'm going to third grade.

PELOSI: You think your kids are going to go to college?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes. They're going to college. They're going to graduate their senior year. Then they're going to have their summer vacation and it's off to college.

PELOSI: So how much does mom make?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now I'm making $14.90 an hour. And then when they take everything off, medical, taxes, whatever, I bring home about, $885 every two weeks. It's a little tough. I mean, we're managing right now, but as soon as I get my pay raise next year, things are going to start looking a little bit different.

Jesse was born in April, and I lost my job. And then it followed, my husband lost his and then we got into the motel.

PELOSI: Is it dinnertime? Is that what you guys are doing? What are you having for dinner?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're having noodles.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Pizza and spaghetti. Pasta.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want a little bit more?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put that in the sink. There's no dishes. Just wash your bowls for me. OK.

PELOSI: Hold on. Mom is going to work. You guys have to kiss mom good-bye. Mom is the hardest working woman so let's see it. Give her some love. Overnight. While you guys are sleeping, mommy is going to be working.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, you. You be a good boy. Good boy. Yes, mommy's got to go to work.

PELOSI: What does mommy do for work?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a CNA, certified nursing assistant. I work on the telemetry floor, which is the heart unit and we're always busy. Last night I was swamped. That's why I was in bed all day today. I couldn't move. I was so tired, exhausted. Because I work on one of the busiest floors in the hospital.

PELOSI: You work nights. But you hope to get to a day shift?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now I want to stay on night shift because if I go to day shift, I lose the night differential and we really can't afford that right now. So that's the reason why I'm staying with night shift.

PELOSI: You get paid more money to work at night?


PELOSI: How much more money do you make working at night?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just $1.90 extra but $1.90 is $1.90 on the paycheck.

PELOSI: Those are all your clothes?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Sometimes I have a hard time looking for the clothes I want to wear. So it takes me time.

PELOSI: Who gets the top bunk?



DYLAN: She gets the bottom.

PELOSI: Oh, you guys share the top bunk?


PELOSI: How is it sleeping with your brother?

DYLAN: He puts his body parts all over me. I get no room.

BEN: And he almost squishes me. He lay on my pillows and he almost squishes me off the bed.

PELOSI: Are you having a good summer?

BEN: Yes.

PELOSI: So what do you hope for this summer?

BEN: I hope for a house.

PELOSI: You are lucky you have an older sister to do the dishes for you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My job. That's what I do. That's one of my chores, wash dishes, fold clothes. When laundry has been done, make my bed. Watch Jesse. My chores. I want to help.

DYLAN: We're going to take out our garbage. My job is to take out the garbage. BEN: My job is to help him.

DYLAN: Darn, he missed. He missed. The guy pulled out his gun and almost shot the guy, but the bullet hit somewhere else. It hit like the gate and it went in the pool.

BEN: I heard something go poof. I was like -- they shot -- they shot something in the pool. And I was like, it's a real bullet. And I was afraid that there was there's --


PELOSI: And what happened to the guys with the guns?

BEN: They escaped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go up the stairs and take a tour. Let's see if we can find any drugs. This is the back right here. This is where most of the drugs are at. Actually, the whole place is full of drugs.

PELOSI: How come the police are here?

RUDEE: I have no idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rudee, let's go. Rudee. Rudee, come here. Get it. Go. Go. Go. Look, look.


PELOSI: So is that the guy teaching you the dance moves?

RUDEE: Yes. Yes.

PELOSI: You got to go to bed, Rudee. It's time to go to bed. Your mom said you had to go to bed.


PELOSI: How is mom holding up?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm holding up. Just a little tired, but it's OK. I'm used to it.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You made it to the fourth grade, but you got all -- mostly all S's, satisfactory.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What does that mean?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That means mostly B's and C's.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to study more. You have to do more homework. You need to stay on top of it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mom, I've been bringing my homework every day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I understand that, but I've already told you guys how important school is. You don't play around in school. I have to go through this and see where you need improvement and stuff. So we'll see. Well, it's going to get harder next year. OK. So, all right, let's get going. Dad's waiting. It will be OK. We'll be fine.

The grades were not too good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She didn't pass?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, she's passed to the fourth grade but the grades in areas were not too good. Both her and Dylan need to work a lot harder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's OK, Celine. We'll deal with it, OK? Believe me. I understand. I've had a lot of F's in my days.

PELOSI: So tell me about your bed. How is your bed?

BRENDA, AGE 11, MOTOR INN ROOM 142 RESIDENT: My bed has bed bugs. One of them does.

PELOSI: So how is the itching going?

BRENDA: Really bad.

PELOSI: So do you have bed bugs?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. These little red things. Yes. And they hurt bad.

BRENDA: Itching right here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then on my shoulder.

BRENDA: On my legs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My legs. And my feet. All over. Like on my ankles.

PELOSI: So you guys both have bed bugs?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Almost all the rooms do. Only some of them don't.

PELOSI: Do you feel them biting you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Like they usually do it in the middle of the night. BRENDA: And then you wake up with the bumps.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. And at first it's like nothing. Then it's like you are like this and you just rub over it. You can feel like the bumps and then they just start itching. It hurts.

BRENDA: Whenever they -- whenever there's bed bugs, they just take out the beds and leave them outside and then like whenever they feel like it, they start cleaning the bed and then they reuse them again. But there's still bugs in them.



PELOSI: What's the worst part about being a homeless kid?



BREWSTER: I don't know why you're asking dumb questions.

PELOSI: How old are you?

BREWSTER: Six. You butt hole.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't leave your candy out. Zach.

PELOSI: So how many people do you have living in this room?


PELOSI: Plus how many dogs?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four. They're not dogs. They are like babies.

ALLIE BREWSTER, AGE 16: They sleep with us in the bed.

PELOSI: So who sleeps where?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Allie and the pooches sleep there with Joshua. Zach has a cot that we put out. This is his bedding that we lined the cot up with because he's horrible to sleep with. Andrea and I curl up over here and go to sleep.

ALLIE BREWSTER: So you have to be together no matter what. We have to live in the same room, deal with each other. There's no walls besides the four walls we all share. We don't have walls to run away to. The bathroom is, like, the only sense of security.

ZACH BREWSTER, AGE 11: You get no privacy. Every time you want to watch something, they are always in the way. Every time you want to lay down you always have a dog with you.

PELOSI: So where are your clothes? ZACH BREWSTER: In the bathroom. Here's my -- here's my dresser in here. In the back is my sister's clothes and my brother's clothes and my mom's clothes.

PELOSI: Are you happy?

ZACH BREWSTER: What do you mean by happy? It's crowded in here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I'm a 42-year-old widow. I work at Disneyland. I just don't make enough to rent an apartment.

PELOSI: So how long have you been working at Disneyland?


PELOSI: And still you don't make enough to have an apartment?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not yet. I can't afford it right now.

PELOSI: But you're working.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. But I've got to get a second job to make it because you have to have income requirements. I work in the parking department. We make $9.33 an hour.

PELOSI: So that's not really a living wage for a woman with five kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. No. But I've got to get my butt in gear and go get a second job because I do nursing. So next week I'm going to start looking into that.

PELOSI: You work at the happiest place on earth.


PELOSI: Is your family the happiest family on earth?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kind of, sort of.


ZACH BREWSTER: Not as much as it's supposed to be.


ZACH BREWSTER: Not as much as it's supposed to be.


ZACH BREWSTER: Because there's a lot of arguments in our family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's already got a probation officer. He already pulled a stupid stunt.

ZACH BREWSTER: Got in a bunch of trouble. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But when we went to court, they offered a wrap around program. He finally got his big brother. He's doing a lot better.

PELOSI: So how come you've been getting in trouble these days?

ZACH BREWSTER: Because there's nothing really for us kids to do. Parks are starting to be filled with gang members, taggers, a lot of stuff. So it's kind of hard living in a motel because they don't want you to play outside where you're -- where kids want to play. And then some of us kids want something that other people have so we just take it.

PELOSI: Like what?

ZACH BREWSTER: Different stuff. Like iPods, computers.

ALLIE BREWSTER: Anything that you own. People steal your clothes and stuff if they know what you have and they like it. They pretty much just take it from you. So he did that, too.

ZACH BREWSTER: Sometimes I did it for attention. And sometimes I don't.

PELOSI: Why do you want attention?

ZACH BREWSTER: Because usually I don't get attention.

PELOSI: Why not?

ZACH BREWSTER: I don't know why not. Because my mom is too busy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's in the trash. There's a whole bunch of stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get out of the trash can now. I said for you guys to get out of the trash can now. Both of you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look it. Look it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get out of here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm looking for more toys.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Josh you can't have that. You'll go to jail.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to go to jail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll go tell his mom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Go tell his mom.

PELOSI: What did you find in the trash? Let me see what you found in the trash.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). You can't keep that one. Go throw it back in the trash can. Going to catch (INAUDIBLE). I don't think it's real. It's gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the trash.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're getting treasures.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I asked you nicely. Do you want to get kicked out? Then you've got to get out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on. You don't need that. Come on. Let's go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Days and the week. What's the first day of the week?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: January is the first month.







UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's the third month. I'm looking for a day of the week. You want to sing a song?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sing the song. No, listen to the song for the days of the week.

We do take care of the kids. I mean, they come in and they get breakfast and lunch, which is part of the state program. And so that's -- there's no cost to that. You know, as far as what they get from the state, I wouldn't eat it. You know, I don't think it's healthy.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got to eat the whole thing.

PELOSI: How is your lunch, Joshy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a group that takes care of donating food to the families every single week, every single student gets one backpack of food every week to take home. There's actually no cost for anything here at Project Hope with the kids that are here. They don't have to pay for textbooks, they don't have to pay or supplies. Everything is provided for them.

They know that no matter what every day, they're OK, if they come here, they'll be taken care of. They're safe. And I'll do whatever I can with whatever resources I have to help out the kids and their families. I would -- I would say that at least half of the kids that come here probably will be successful. At least have a job. But then there's others that, you know, will get pregnant early. They'll go to jail early.

PELOSI: Can you tell when you are wasting your time?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, but you can't give up on the kids.

PELOSI: You like this country? Tell me why you like this country.

JOSH: Because it's -- we get to -- the homeless get to have free food instead of paying when they are homeless.

PELOSI: How about you? Why do you like America?

GABRIEL, AGE 7: If homeless people don't have food or money, we would give them it, and I don't know.


PELOSI: Josh, you look so different. Why did you cut your hair like this?

JOSH: I don't know. A sword fight?

ZACH: I'm getting a shield.

JOSH: Get me a shield.

ZACH: Get your own. Yes, you better keep your shield. JOSH: Come on.

PELOSI: So, Josh, you like living across the street from Disneyland?

JOSH: Yes.


JOSH: Because you can see the fireworks every single day. I really want to see them.

ZACH: Josh. Josh, the fireworks go off and, boom. I said so. Look at the cars over there. Grand finale.

CASSIDY, AGE 8: Mr. Turtle.

PELOSI: Are you excited about third grade?


PELOSI: Why not?

CASSIDY: They have hard math. And hard other stuff. Here.

PELOSI: What's for lunch, Cassidy?

CASSIDY: Tortillas, apple sauce and --


CASSIDY: Thank you. Tortillas, apple sauce and orange, and a chocolate milk.

PELOSI: What is your cheer? Let's see you do a cheer.

CASSIDY: OK. Let's go. Let's go.

PELOSI: So would you consider yourself a happy kid or a sad kid?

CASSIDY: Mostly a sad kid.


CASSIDY: Because I have lots more sad days than happy days. I've slept at the park, I slept -- I've had to sleep at my mom -- my little sister's grandma's house. And --

PELOSI: What's it like to sleep in the park?

CASSIDY: Actually not so fun.


CASSIDY: Because we wake up, and we have nowhere to get dressed.

PELOSI: What's it like living at the motel? CASSIDY: Like you're in hell under the ground, and the devil is, like, being so mean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE CHILD: Because usually cops come in and tell Ma (ph), to our motel. People keep going to jail. And that's what my mom doesn't like about that. And I don't like it, either.

PELOSI: What kind of things do they do that make them go to jail?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE CHILD: They beat up moms. They steal stuff. They drink alcohol.

PELOSI: What's the worst thing you've ever seen at that motel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE CHILD: This man go to jail, he got cuffs. He got cuff -- cuffed.

PELOSI: What did he do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE CHILD: He hit a woman. He, like choked her. And then the cops came and they took him to jail.

PELOSI: So tell me, how is the food in the soup kitchen?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE CHILD: It's is not very good, but it's something to eat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing here? What's this?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't have a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a lot of overtime. This is 40 hours plus 10 hours of overtime.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mandatory overtime.

PELOSI: So how much did you make this week?


PELOSI: Like, how much would you have to make an hour to be able to get out of this motel and get an apartment for your family?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me do the math. Let's see. You figure, okay, we're going to be fair, we'll say $1,200. So, then you've got your utility bills. Then you have food and gas, car insurance. You would need to make -- you'd need to make about $3,000 a month. $20 an hour.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Okay, Cassidy. Thank you. Cassidy, you shaved your head!

PELOSI: Cassidy, why did you shave your head?

CASSIDY: Because I have lice.

PELOSI: Now, where are you living these days?

CASSIDY: Nowhere.

PELOSI: So, Cassidy, what do you have to look forward to in your life?

CASSIDY: Nothing.

PELOSI: You have nothing in your life to be excited about?

CASSIDY: Nothing.

PELOSI: Nothing at all?

CASSIDY: Nothing at all.


PELOSI: Zach, where are you moving?

ZACH: Don't know. Don't care.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I was wondering if you have any weekly rates? What would the rate be for two adults and two children?

PELOSI: Why are you moving?

ZACH: Because we have to.


ZACH: Because.

PELOSI: You got thrown out?

ZACH: Yep.


ZACH: 'Cause.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because they don't want us here anymore, which is okay with me because I want to move, too.

PELOSI: So where are you headed?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Off to the border of Fullerton and Anaheim.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not that. She told Ray she'd give him 20 bucks for gas. We're borrowing it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) harbor, near the 91 freeway. Yes, there's a park around the corner, and then eventually I can just switch back over to Patrick Henry, which is around the corner and down the street. The school that Ally used to go to. It's right down the street from Disneyland. Yes, so it's a better move. It's only $19 more than this place.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CHILD: Daddy, do you have gas? Do you have gas to pick me up? I have a stomach ache. Do you have gas because I have a stomach ache. No? Okay. Bye. Bye. I have a stomach ache.

PELOSI: What's wrong with your stomach?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CHILD: I don't know because every time I try to go to sleep, my stomach starts hurting.

PELOSI: So why didn't you call your parents and have them come pick you up?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CHILD: Because my dad doesn't have gas and my mom doesn't have money to get on the bus, and my mom doesn't have the car.

PELOSI: So you're stuck here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CHILD: And I have to go to -- I have to wait until 5:00.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CHILD: I have to wait till 5:00.

PELOSI: You have to sit here all day until the bus takes you home?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE CHILD: We're going to the beach.

PELOSI: Field trip!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CHILD: We're almost there. We're almost there. We're here!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love when we go on field trips like this because the kids turn into kids. All of a sudden, they're nothing except happy, wonderful children. And those are great sounds to hear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE CHILD: Yeah! That was awesome!