PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After spending years in and out of homeless shelters, Nova LeVan and her 11-year-old son Kai now have a place to call their own.
The last time KOIN 6 News spoke to Nova, she had just been approved for government-funded housing. Since then, she said she’s been on a mission to find an apartment she and Kai could start the next chapter of their lives in.
“It’s very high anxiety,” Nova previously said. “You do wonder if people are going to look at the letter and go, ‘We don’t want your type here.'”
Nearly 4 weeks later, her hard work paid off. The mother and son now have a 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment in the Rockwood neighborhood at the edge of Southeast Portland.
Kai was excited to give reporter Chris Holmstrom a tour of his new room: He showed off his homemade toys as he carried his beloved cat, Oz, around the apartment.
While Nova agreed it’s an exciting time, she admitted the move has been intimidating.
“I wasn’t taught the things I need to know to live,” she said. “I don’t know how to run a household. I know the basics. I know how to cook and keep it cleaned up and stuff like that, I just don’t know how to keep the motivation day in and day out.”
She said having to deal with clinical depression hasn’t made adjusting to her new life any easier, but she’s doing her best to establish a daily routine.
“I have to get balance back in there and figure out how we are going to live our daily lives with chores, responsibilities, etc,” Nova explained.
She described life in her new home as “peaceful” with “no chaos.” Although she was excited about leaving the homeless shelter, she said it was hard to say goodbye.
“There were a few people there who saw me for who I was and had respect for me,” Nova said. “So it was a little bit of an emotional moment.”
Thankfully, Nova said, she and Kai haven’t felt alone during this transitional period.
Since their first story aired on KOIN 6 News, several viewers reached out to offer their support to the mother and son. One woman donated $800 to the family, took them out to lunch and gave them some small items for their new home.
“She wasn’t just donating because it would make me feel better in the long run,” Nova said. “She was real and she showed concern for us and our situation.”
Another viewer from Scappoose had KOIN 6 News deliver $300 in cash, a $100 PetSmart giftcard for Oz and a brand new bicycle, helmet, tool set and lock for Kai.
“Oh, thank you! Oh, thank you!” Kai exclaimed as he hopped on the bike.
It’s clear life for Nova and Kai has changed quickly.
Nova said she understands people are invested in their future, and she plans to hold herself accountable to make sure they keep moving in a positive direction. Once she finishes furnishing the apartment, she said she will start looking for work.
“Now there are people looking at me and when I say I’m looking to do this, I’m going to try and do this,” she said. “Then… if I don’t, they are going to wonder why.”
Nova also hopes to get Kai involved in an extracurricular activity like gymnastics.