Jeannette Knighton teared up Saturday morning as movers brought new furniture into her downtown Las Vegas apartment.
Knighton’s family lost their last apartment early in the pandemic. They were homeless until October, when HopeLink of Southern Nevada offered to help Knighton cover rent and find her a place to work.
While the Knightons were attempting to feed and house five people, furniture was not Jeannette Knighton’s priority.
On Saturday, Knighton and her youngest son, 13-year-old Sam, began organizing their home with the furniture donated by Liquidation Nation in partnership with HopeLink. They were one of 14 families who received 270 pieces of furniture, including microwaves, couches, ottomans and artwork to hang on their walls.
“I’m totally excited,” Knighton said.
Her husband, who declined to give his name, is the only one working full time, providing their family about $2,000 monthly. Despite food stamps, and Jeannette Knighton’s frugal ways, most groceries last a day or two because of her 17-, 16- and 13-year-old boys.
“It’s knowing the kids are safe,” Knighton said through tears looking at her apartment. “My children, when they walked in, the smile on their faces. I felt so relieved.”
Now, Knighton is hoping to get a job, a vehicle and maybe someday a home large enough for all of her boys to have their own bedroom.
Franky Perez, owner of Liquidation Nation, a furniture store on West Oquendo Road near South Decatur Boulevard, and former Apocalyptica singer, said he wanted to give back to the city he was born and raised in. He said furniture turns an apartment into a home for a family to feel safe in.
“It’s the part that people don’t talk about,” Perez said of poverty. “You talk about the lights, neon, gambling and the shows, but you don’t talk about how there’s people struggling here as well.”
HopeLink CEO Stacey Lockhart said the organization helps clients get back on their feet by providing job training, setting up interviews and covering rent and utilities. Most clients, Lockhart said, need about six months of help to regain financial independence.
“We don’t have a local furniture bank here, and every time a family moves out of homelessness, they make do with this and that,” she said. “Having the opportunity to provide them with newer, nice furniture that matches, we want to help make their new home feel like a home.”
Lockhart said about one-third of the charity’s clients are victims of domestic violence, including survivors who left without any belongings.
“Kids need a sense of permanence, and they can’t be worried about coming home and is mom going to be loading stuff in the car again,” she said. “It’s a sense of stability.”