Stories of Hope
“The statistics show that maternal mortality affects those of us in this community the most. Mortality rates are much higher for African American mothers than for any other nationality and so with this neighborhood being predominately black, why wouldn’t a center be here? Why wouldn’t we raise more awareness around it so that as women become mothers, they know they have other optionsoutside of going straight to a hospital?”
Erica Hagans, a DC resident and mother of two, connected with Community of Hope’s Rapid Re-housing program after facing continued challenges with securing stable housing. Erica and her children bounced between living in a shelter and with family or friends.
The continual transitions associated with unstable housing took a tremendous toll on her family, especially when Erica experienced two significant losses – both her mother and grandmother.
When 21-year-old Daeja Kennerly moved into The Triumph, she knew that her challenging journey with unstable housing was finally going to change. For several years, Daeja and her three young kids experienced homelessness – from living with different family members to securing housing only to face eviction shortly after. Unfortunately, this part of Daeja’s life had seemed never-ending and hopeless.
The day Star Douglas and her son moved into their new apartment was full of gratitude. “I felt a massive amount of relief when we moved into our place. A whole world of pain was released off of my shoulders.” The pain for Star started when she was just a child. Her mother abandoned her and then her father sold her to a stranger so he could pursue a career in music. For the next few years, Star was subjected to neglect, mistreatment, and abuse. When her father returned and took her to live with her grandmother, she thought things would finally get better.
Give the gift of a bright holiday to children and families experiencing homelessness by donating to our Adopt-A-Family program. With your gift of a Target or Walmart gift card (in increments of $25), parents have the opportunity to choose how they will best make this season brighter for their families by purchasing a meal and/or gifts.
Anthony and Mari Baylor and their two sons, Khaiyel, 6, and Kyando, 12, entered Community of Hope’s transitional housing program in 2018, after having endured many obstacles as a family. Before Community of Hope, the Baylors faced housing instability challenges that forced them to live with family, in condemned apartments and even motels.
“Community of Hope has put me in the position where I can start giving back, now as a teenager still in my community,” said Shae’Lynn Ames, Community of Hope intern.
In 2016, Ana Beltran connected with Community of Hope’s Conway Health and Resource Center thanks to a back to school flyer. Ana, 59, is a native Washingtonian and product of what she describes as “pre-Columbia Heights” – an era after the historic 1968 DC Riots and during the revitalization of 14th street. So when Ana and her niece arrived at the Bellevue Back to School Bash, she was surprised to learn that a place like Community of Hope existed. “I had never seen the Community of Hope building before.
Carey Carter, 63, couldn’t have been more excited about the newest treatment her doctor suggested – eating fruits and vegetables to help control her chronic health conditions. Carey started receiving medical services at Community of Hope in 2017 and participates in the My Health GPS program where she receives specialized care coordination.
“We were living in the worst projects. Someone was killed in front of our door, people were dealing drugs in the hallway, there were gangs, and our home kept getting broken into. We couldn’t live there.” The family entered a housing program which was unexpectedly closed. “I was devastated it closed. During that time I didn’t know how to deal with stress. I was going through a lot. All I kept thinking was, this can’t be life.”