Maya Brice is a woman of hope.
This DC native and single mother of three sought a fresh start in Missouri. After experiencing hard times and years of struggling to try to make it on her own, she and her kids moved in with a friend. Unfortunately, Maya’s monthly rent contribution was mishandled by her friend, and Maya chose to move her family into an extended stay hotel. The usual monthly rent became a weekly hotel bill. Maya shares that at that moment she had to ask herself, “Is this the best situation for me and my kids?” and concluded that it was not.
Maya packed up everything and moved back to the District. The family continued to live from house to house with close friends and family even after their return. This season of housing instability not only caused a major strain in family relationships but also impacted Maya emotionally. Sadly, it only worsened when Maya’s brother was killed. “It was super hard because I had to keep it together for my kids because they were going through a lot too. They didn’t have a two-parent household and they just lost their favorite uncle. I was to the point where I thought I was losing my mind. But I had to keep pushing for them.” Maya knew that for things to finally change, she had to do things differently. After reaching out to the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center, Maya was matched with the Rapid Re-Housing program at Community of Hope.
Through the program, Maya and her family now had access to housing stability, focused case management, assistance on finding an affordable apartment, and connections to employment, training, and community resources. Maya and her family moved into a house and at last, had a place to call home. “It’s amazing to have a house. This is really meant to be. Being here helped repair a lot of relationships with my family. Having this place really helped me.” Once Maya secured stable housing, she began working towards getting a job in a field she’s always been most passionate about – healthcare. With the help of her COH employment specialist, Maya got her Missouri Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license transferred to DC. Once she retrieved her license, she started looking for employment - but due to COVID-19, she faced more challenges. “The pandemic made it hard for me to find a job. I put in job applications to different places, every day. But no one was calling me back and I was getting worried.” But Maya didn’t give up. She persevered and landed a critical job amid the pandemic. “I was ecstatic. I felt like I was back to me.”
Maya’s role as a CNA was extremely important especially in the midst of a public health emergency. Regardless of the risks, Maya remains committed to helping others. “It’s sad because you get to see stuff first-hand. As nursing assistants, we are risking ourselves, but we have to continue to do our job. We have to ensure our patients are okay even sometimes without having the proper gear and then come home to our families. It’s hard.” Maya is hopeful that now with everything moving in the right direction, she can continue to make positive strides for her and her family. She plans to sustain her housing and employment, all while working towards finishing nursing school to obtain her BSN. “It’s important to have organizations like Community of Hope because a family can lean on them when they are going through hardship. They may feel like they are alone but COH is there to let them know they aren’t alone and can help you move forward.”
For more information about Community of Hope’s housing programs, please visit our website at https://www.communityofhopedc.org/housing/programs