Improvements and Setbacks for Family
Every night about 3,000 people in Austin look for a spot on a bench or in the woods to lie down and go to sleep. Many find refuge under the city’s bridges. That was what the Yount family did. They were living in their truck.
Things have changed since KUT aired their story in October. Some for the better, some for the worse.
Gerry Yount remembers our first interview. “We were in the Sears parking lot, living in our truck and having a pretty hard time,” he said.
Now he has an apartment in north central Austin where he lives with his wife and son.
The place is sparsely furnished and clean. There’s a couch where Trey, Gerry’s 12-year-old son, sits. A framed pale blue crocheted picture. An empty bookcase.
Gerry, his wife Melanie and their son Trey became homeless after Gerry lost his plumbing job and Melanie had brain surgery. She could no longer work as a vet technician. Their debts mounted.
Gerry says they are blessed now that they have a roof above their heads.
“Before all this happened we had just about everything — all the little gadgets and electronics and televisions and PlayStations,” he said. “But I’ll never take a bath for granted again, or a stove or refrigerator. My heart goes out to the people that are in need. I feel for them.”
One of their three Chihuahuas had a litter of puppies, and they’ve been able to sell them. The dogs are still Trey’s main entertainment.
“Shadow is my champion dog,” he said. “He’s my shadow — we named him appropriately. I love him, he loves me; I’m his human.”
This Monday, Trey will start school. He says he looks forward to making new friends.
But sorrow has followed the Younts’ joy.
Melanie Yount was hospitalized last week. She’s in Temple with her doctors. Trey says he misses her desperately. Gerry tears up. They’ve never been apart.
When I met Melanie she told me she fell in love with Gerry the moment she saw him.
“He is my heart,” she said. “We will be together forever, and I know that, and I thank God, even through these trials — I would go through them a million times over to be with him.”
Gerry believes Melanie will make it. She is strong, he says. And when that happens they will start over — again.
We say goodbye and Gerry ushers me out. He shuts the door, and as I reach my car, he opens his front door and yells, “I forgot to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!”