Karl & Courtney


Rent Burden in the Bayou

Meet Karl, Courtney and Aubrey, a family working hard to make rent in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. With two modest incomes, they struggle each month to cover the costs of rent, utilities, child care and other expenses. Karl Shuman, 35, is an archaeological surveyor for building projects, but his company’s ability to get work is dependent on Louisiana’s economy, which has been lackluster of late. Courtney Strother, 33, is a former stay-at-home mom that has recently re-entered the workforce as a cook at a treatment center. They are raising Aubrey, 7, in the neighborhood where Karl and Courtney were raised and where Karl’s parents still reside. Karl and Courtney work hard to create a stable home for Aubrey, but putting money aside is difficult when unanticipated expenses arise.

Working together to raise a child where they grew up is the good part. Living paycheck-to-paycheck makes it harder than it should be.

Watch part two of their story


Stephan Jenkins on why we need to Make Room

Third Eye Blind’s Stephan Jenkins was evicted five times as a child. He describes his struggles as a rising musician and how his experiences helped to lend his voice to Karl, Courtney and Make Room.