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April 3rd, 2009
10:00 AM ET

Mom stands between families and homelessness

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Steinhardt converted her basement into a child care center as part of her effort to help low-income families."]

VIENNA, Virginia (CNN) - Despite working three jobs, Carolina Wines and her husband, George Wines, couldn't afford housing. For six months they had to live out of their van, hanging sheets on the windows for privacy and stopping at gas stations to wash up.

A medical disability kept George Wines from working, leaving it to his wife to support both of them.

It was a battle, and they were losing.

Obtaining affordable housing "was impossible," she said. The couple spent five years on the public housing wait list.

"When it would be really cold, in the 20s, I'd be up most of the night keeping the van running," said George Wines.

But with help from Suezette Steinhardt, families such as the Wineses are getting back on track and into their own homes. The couple now have an apartment, and Carolina Wines said she is moving forward with her education and her career.

"Without Suezette," said Carolina Wines, "we would probably be dead."

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