“So many people said they would help us all through our journey but it wasn’t until we got to Community of Hope that it was true.” – Anthony Baylor
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. “Most of the shelters in DC were packed so our family was placed in a motel but a lot of bad activity was happening at the motel. We couldn’t live there,” said Anthony.
The Baylors knew that the toxic environment associated with some of those motels was not where they wanted their children to live, so they did everything they could to advocate for housing elsewhere. Sadly, even after placed in a temporary shelter, the Baylors’ troubles were not over. Anthony turned to drugs as a way to cope with grieving the loss of his father and to deal with job and housing instability. This coping resulted in further suppressing how his family’s journey was impacting him. All of these issues took a major toll on his marriage. “When he was on drugs, it was hard. I needed his support. I wanted him here, but not like that,” said Mari.
When the family came to Community of Hope, life shifted in the right direction. After moving into Hope Apartments, the Baylors were connected to a case manager and began taking important steps towards hope. Anthony’s first step was enrolling in drug rehabilitation and he has since maintained sobriety for five months. Anthony recently began addressing his emotional wellness and participating in father support groups through Community of Hope. With continued case management, he has obtained a Special Police Officer (SPO) license.
Today, Anthony is driven by positive change and is working towards becoming an addiction and recovery coach to help others. “To be clean means I’ve got a story [to tell] and I can give back. I can offer my family more. I can be a better husband and father.” The changes in Anthony have allowed Mari to regain trust for her husband. “I can trust him now that he is clean,” said Mari.
With a sober husband and a safe place for her children, Mari can focus on her own goals. While at Hope Apartments, Mari has learned techniques to take control over her day, such as utilizing a schedule that keeps her and her family organized. She is also working towards finding a job that allows her to work with children and teens. Now the Baylor kids can finally play and interact with others outside and just enjoy being kids – something Anthony and Mari Baylor have long-hoped for.
“There’s light at the end of the tunnel with places like Community of Hope. They will make you see that you are worth something.”