The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted so many families including the families we serve who face regular challenges and barriers to equitable resources. This was the situation for housing client, Ms. Taylor , and her two children.
Ms. Taylor, a DC native, entered a segment of Community of Hope’s permanent supportive housing program in 2017 after facing housing instability for several years.
Now supporting nearly 170 formerly homeless families with children, families in this program hold leases in their names and pay up to 30 percent of their income towards rent. With our team, Ms. Taylor received a high level of case management support that she had never experienced before. “My case manager would hold different group classes with other housing clients, and we would have meditation and talk about what’s on our minds. It was refreshing to be able to talk about what’s going on in our life – the good and bad.”
Along with these groups, Ms. Taylors case manager would take the family to different places around the District – where the kids could have safe fun and the adults could talk more about future goals and plans. “Other housing programs don’t usually give that level of support, but Community of Hope did, and I’m grateful.” When the Mayor’s Stay At Home Order was issued and social distancing was required, Ms. Taylor was forced to transition like everyone else. Things drastically changed for her family – with virtual learning for her kids being the biggest one.
“My kids used to get up and have breakfast and go to school until 4:00 pm. But now, they aren’t in school. I have to have food for them throughout the day and do virtual learning. It’s really a lot of work and takes so much patience.” Ms. Taylor creates fun and interactive ways to engage her 6- and 7-year-old through learning, so they will continue to stay excited even though they aren’t physically in school. “I always make up games for them to play. Sometimes I use a cup and a ball to play bowling so they can count how many cups fall and how many stay up. I have to incorporate fun into their learning.” When Ms. Taylor and her family aren’t in the house, they are outside going for walks to the park and playground. Ms. Taylor, who is also managing an underlying heart condition with the support from providers at our Family Health and Birth Center, knows the benefits exercise can have not only on her health but for her kids. “I try to take all the right steps my doctor says to do – exercising, eating the right things, and taking my medicine.”
While life has changed a lot, Ms. Taylor says the level of support she has received from Community of Hope does not “My case manager has been there for me numerous times throughout this. She has taken me to the store to get my medication or to get groceries. She even makes sure I’m following up with my doctor.” Community of Hope’s case managers have remained on the frontline of this crisis to ensure that clients continue to feel heard and supported. “She [case manager] has shared food and other resources that are available - but I only utilize it if I really need to. I don’t want to take away from anyone else that may need it more than I do.” Ms. Taylor is hopeful that when things start to open back up again, she can secure employment, and go back to school so she can live out her dreams of having her own cooking business and teaching kids how to read music. “I know I can accomplish a lot of things if I have the right resources to go back, I can get it done. Some people don’t have a support system like Community of Hope. But this organization is helping people better their lives and not destroying them.”
Click here to learn more about Community of Hope’s housing programs.