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. Grief, combined with her family’s unstable living situation, not only affected Erica emotionally, but her children’s attitudes, behavior, and academic performance were also negatively influenced. “We couldn’t live like that. All I could do was keep praying…keep praying.”
Erica went to the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center and was connected to Community of Hope’s Rapid Re-housing program. This program provides short- to medium-term rental and utility assistance and supportive case management services. It is designed to help families experiencing homelessness become stably housed by moving into their own homes quickly. Erica was determined to create a better life for her family using any means necessary. Once she entered the program, she knew she’d succeeded at the first big step.
“It was a blessing when I first came into Community of Hope. When I got in my apartment, it felt like the fight was for a reason. I was able to breathe.”
Erica was paired with a case manager and a full support team that helped her navigate successfully through the program. Together, they established a monthly budget, built a trusting rapport with the landlord, and set realistic goals. One of the goals was Erica obtaining a Certification as a Medical Office Administration Assistant and Clinical Medical Assistant. Because she had a supportive case manager and stable housing, Erica was able to focus and accomplished this important career goal along with many others. “Outside of everything that Community of Hope already offers, my case manager related with me personally. She would listen to my problems and give me positive motivation. Even on my worst days, she would make me feel like I was a better person.”
With continued case management support, Erica was connected to agencies that helped repair her credit and eventually increased her credit score by over 50 points. Erica will continue to be the positive influence that her children need to be successful themselves.
“It felt like my kids did better because they saw me do better. The more I saw my kids proud of me, the more I wanted to change.” Erica’s next goal is to go back to school to obtain a degree in Psychology. With the right tools and resources learned at Community of Hope and along with her endless determination, she is certain to accomplish it.
“Community of Hope wasn’t about just getting an apartment. I was able to find out who I was because I had my own space to do so.”
Visit our website to learn more about the housing programs Community of Hope offers to families throughout Washington, DC.