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11Alive viewers help homeless mom and three kids | News

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11Alive viewers help homeless mom and three kids
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ALPHARETTA, Ga. -- Within hours of hearing the story about a mom and her three children on the verge of homelessness, 11Alive viewers have responded with unbelievable generosity.

Our newsroom has been swamped with calls and emails from people in metro Atlanta offering help to Anna Marie Tchouaffe and her three children.

As of Saturday night, viewers had paid for her current accomodations at a local extended stay hotel through February 1st,  donated money, food, a useable computer and presents for Christmas.

A state worker tipped off 11Alive News, saying he was trying to help the Tchouaffe family get back on its  feet, but couldn't find any government agency or private charity that could help them.

When we first talked with the family, all  four were incredibly, somehow, full of hope, and calm in the face of catastrophe, and trying to suppress fear.

"I've been very strong this year," mom, Anne Marie Tchouaffe, said with a sigh. "But facing this situation is so, so new and so scary for me."

Anne Marie has two teenage daughters and a son, Jean Baptiste, who has cerebral palsy.

She said shelters will not accept him because of his special needs.

Last week, a private charity offered to put them in an extended stay hotel but only until next Tuesday.

"We're very happy when we are together," Tchouaffe said. "This makes us all, I mean, sometimes forget about our problems and just sit down and praise the Lord for being, you know, such a healthy family."

Jean Baptiste must use a wheelchair, and sleep in a hospital bed with railings, and use other medical devices, and he receives daily medications.

He cannot speak.

But he can communicate.

The three children's father filed for divorce when Jean Baptiste was 8-years-old, and Tchouaffe said he has not paid child support, further straining her finances.

"I think that [Jean Baptiste's disability] was too much on him, having a child with a special need, and so he quit. Just quit," she said. "And so I had to raise up the three children all by myself. And I've been doing that for the past four years."

She does not complain. She brags about her kids.

"The fact that [Jean Baptiste] has two sisters that assist me, and love him so much, is so important for him, for his balance, even for his health" she said. "And he needs us. He needs the three of us."

Tchouaffe works as a French-English interpreter, but she went back to school for steadier work.

"I had the training to be a nursing assistant. And everything went well, very well," she said. "And I'm looking for a job at the moment. And haven't found anything yet."

While Tchouaffe looks for work, she doesn't understand why the only time she's ever asked government agencies for help, the only help they've offered is to tell her they will split up her family, and send her son to DFCS.

"'And you sleep in the car,'" she said they told her. "And I say, 'No, it cannot work that way. I've been a very good mother to this boy and to the girls. I don't want my children to be taken away from me.'"

Her case worker, reached by phone Friday afternoon, promised to call back 11Alive,  but had not called back as of Saturday.

Thanks to the generosity of 11Alive viewers there is hope.  They have food, shelter for the coming month and some money to tide them over until Anna Marie finds a job and can start looking for a home in the Alpharetta area that has handicap accessibility.

Those still interested in helping Anne Marie can send checks directly to her at:

Anne Marie Tchouaffe, c/o Hewitt and Rogers, 5185 Peachtree Parkway, Suite 200, Norcross, GA 30092

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