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'There’s always a low point, but there’s always a blessing' | From living in a car to a tent, a Florida family sees better days

The Martinez family lost everything they had, but they took a chance on themselves and started a new life in Memphis for affordable housing.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Right now the housing market might be cooling off. The commerce department says permits for future building have hit a five-month low in April. 

That is after March sales were the slowest in nearly two years, but renting is sky-high. 

According to rent.com, the average studio apartment cost in Memphis is $1,400. 

Finding affordable housing has become almost impossible for Memphians this past year. No one knows that better than the Martinez family. 

ABC24 first introduced you to them last year when they moved here from Florida to Memphis for affordable housing, only to find out that the apartment they thought they would be moving into, was unavailable. It left them homeless.

The couple lost everything they had, except their hope and ambitions. 

Relocating to Memphis was just another leap of faith that the Martinez family felt they needed to take to see better days. 

Moving more than 10 hours away from loved ones and all that made them comfortable was a challenge, but one they were determined to take on.

Life for the Martinez family has been a very unusual journey.

“I was like 'there’s no way I’m tenting,'" Tatiana Martinez said. "'I’m not going to go out and camp in the woods or whatever.’” 

Since the fall of 2021, they have struggled to find housing, which is an issue that is well known to many Memphians.

“It’s rough right now, but I mean—we got a car, I got a job, I got a tent," Chris Martinez said. 

Still, seven months later life has started to look up for the family of four.

“We thought it was going to be two years before we got back on our own feet,” Chris said.

They took the leap of faith and moved. Since getting to Memphis, they went from living in their car, to a tent and now a camper that a church member donated.

“We started fixing it up, and then next thing you know he was like, 'You know what? You guys can keep it,'" Tatiana said. "So taxes came, we did our renovations and then money was hard because work was based on the weather and stuff like that, so hours are getting cut.'" 

Little did they know, that this project would lead them down a path to something much greater. Many people saw the photos they posted on Facebook of their renovated project.

"The phone’s been ringing off the hook," Tatiana said.

The camper that the Martinez’s call their temporary home has helped to piece together their lives, and now they are helping others do the same. 

Their new business is called Martinez Enterprises. It caters to all your homing needs, including painting, pressure washing and more. 

They are not where they want to be, but they are also not where they used to be.

“You would think as a business it would take longer," Tatiana said. "I’m not saying we’re doing great—we’re not. That’s the one thing we were able to do—live off of it, surprisingly."

With a clear vision of their future in mind, they are sure that resilience and determination will get them through. 

“This is the first week I’ve had work all week," Chris said. "I see work now I’m not even able to keep up with, which would be great stability ... definitely a house and land—that’s what I’m really working on right now—some land that I can put a house on."

On this unusual journey, they will continue to live each day with faith, love and perseverance.

"Something always happens," Tatiana said. "There’s always a low point, but there’s always a blessing.”

The Martinez’s give credit to the community for stepping up to help. They now live at the Hollerboyz Trailer Park in Horn Lake. It is actually their neighbor who owns it. 

If you need any work done on to your home, click here. 

RELATED: Housing crisis: Family camping in a tent while they search for affordable housing

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