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Church gives homeless family a home

Special to AmNews | , Glenn Townes | 6/13/2013, 2:14 p.m.

A 27-year-old Ewing, N.J., woman who was arrested last month for living inside a Trenton-area storage locker with her two children has found a temporary home, thanks to the community efforts of a Trenton church.

Sheena Johnson was arrested in April for vandalizing her ex-boyfriends car. She later admitted that she and her and two sons--ages 5 and 10--were living inside of an Extra Space Storage locker facility in the suburban Trenton town of Ewing. The family had been living in the cramped storage bin for well over a month. In addition to the vandalism charges, Johnson was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child. She was jailed, and the children were placed in protective custody.

"I had no place else to go," she said. "I was out of options, and I had to get my children to and from school. I made sure we had meals." Johnson said she would take the boys to local public restrooms to wash and clean up.

After Johnson's story became public, an outpouring of community and local support reached the single mother. The owners of the Big Easy restaurant, a popular Trenton eatery, bailed Johnson out of jail and helped organize a fundraiser for the homeless family.

On Tuesday, Turning Point United Methodist Church in Trenton offered Johnson a home to live in for one year--enough time for her to get on her feet and secure permanent housing. At a brief press conference on Tuesday in Trenton, Johnson said, "Me and my boys have a home to go to. Thank you."

Dozens of bloggers have weighed in on the sad story with a happy ending. One posted, "What a wonderful outcome for this poor woman, who knew she just had to help her children survive. We applaud the Big Easy and Turning Point Church for helping out."

Another posted, "I just love hearing stories like this and that there are still some good people in the world. Thank God!"

It remains unclear if any or all of the charges against Johnson will be dropped by prosecutors.