Single mother Shawn Powell and her family were Hurricane Katrina evacuees from New Orleans who bounced from hotels to a FEMA apartment in Houston before a failed attempt to move back to New Orleans. The duplex they rented in the recovering 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans had no heat or hot water. The neighborhood store across the street was still boarded up and filled with rotting food seven months after the storm. Unable to live in these conditions, they eventually ended up homeless in a Salvation Army shelter in Austin, Texas. Powell was caring for six children, three of her own and three from other family members who could not care for them. The children, who moved multiple times with Shawn were out of school for six months.