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WARWICK, R.I. — Donna Wood and her four children, including a 15-month old with serious disabilities, were evicted from their home in West Warwick earlier this year and are currently living in a hotel in Warwick. After their struggles were documented in The Boston Globe this week, advocates are helping Wood get back on her feet.

They helped her set up a GoFundMe account, which has already raised more than $5,000 toward her $25,000 goal, Wood said. Others have donated money through apps like Venmo.

“I’m lost for words. I just can’t believe this,” said Wood of the generosity.

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Wood and her children — who are 20, 15, 11, and 1 years old— are sharing a single hotel room, which has been paid for by a program through the Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness. They’ve been there since June. Wood said about 10 to 15 families, also experiencing homelessness, were also staying in the hotel through the same program. But each has had to vacate earlier this week. Wood will be forced to leave when the program ends for her on Oct. 31.

Wood says she found an apartment in Warwick for $2,300 a month, starting Nov. 1. But Section 8 still has to inspect the property, so there’s a chance she and her family might not be able to move in.

If approved by Section 8, the family will finally have stable housing again. If not, they’ll be out on the street — even the baby and his medical equipment.

Wood told the Globe that she and her family were living in the same rental unit for the last five years (Corey’s father, a construction worker, helps out when he can, but does not live with them). After her former landlord sold the property to new owners, they initially were told they could sign another lease and stay. But the offer was never in writing and, after a month, the new owners told Wood that she and her children had to go.

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Donna Wood’s 15 month-old son, Corey, looks up as he lays on the bed inside the hotel room where the family is currently staying while she runs across the room to grab her phone so that she can call the Pediatrician.
Donna Wood’s 15 month-old son, Corey, looks up as he lays on the bed inside the hotel room where the family is currently staying while she runs across the room to grab her phone so that she can call the Pediatrician.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

“We were being thrown out at no fault of our own,” said Wood, who said she’s always paid the rent in full and on time while working as a manager at a local Honey Dew. She said she did not owe any rent to the current homeowners, who did not respond to the Globe’s requests for comment.

Wood is the sole caretaker and provider for her 15-month-old son, Corey, who was diagnosed with infantile spasms, optic nerve hypoplasia, encephalomalacia, and global developmental delays. His doctors at Hasbro Children’s Hospital had penned letters to a housing judge, saying that the baby needed stable housing for his health and developmental outcomes. They were evicted anyway.

Saving money, she said, has been difficult. While she has been able to get by, she said, she has had to miss work frequently because she had to take Corey to the emergency department.

“In the month of September, I probably went to work for a total of a week because I had to keep calling out to bring Corey to the hospital. I don’t have any other help. What am I supposed to do? This is my child,” she said.



Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz.