A complicated birth, domestic violence, and homelessness – Natasha Howard, a mother of three, has “seen it all.” But hope keeps her going.
A year ago, Natasha lost her home following a domestic dispute. She and her children – one with special needs and the other still a baby at the time – spent six weeks living in a motel room. They endured a cramped living space and noisy conditions. Natasha was ecstatic to soon find housing through Community of Hope’s Rapid Re-Housing Program. “With a roof over our heads, we could be a family and do everyday things together.”
Now, Natasha has a kitchen to cook family meals in and an open space for her children to learn and grow, which makes all the difference for her family. Her 11-year-old, who was born with retinoblastoma, can play his favorite games and develop his motor skills. Her toddler can walk around on carpeted floors. With a place to call home and the support of our case managers, Natasha and her family quickly regained the stability a mom and young children desperately need.
“I didn’t have a strong family support system – my visits with Community of Hope were that support.”
When Natasha became pregnant with her third child, she knew exactly where her go-to destination for care was. “I can get everything under one roof at Community of Hope! Housing, medical and dental right in my neighborhood – moms like me need convenience,” she said.
During her nine months of pregnancy, Natasha engaged in virtually all the services our robust prenatal program has to offer. In addition to prenatal check-ups with our doctors, she joined our CenteringPregnancy® group with other soon-to-be moms and learned about different birthing options and how to breastfeed. By the end, Natasha felt “comfortable to make her own birthing decisions." This was something important to her after a complicated c-section with her first child.
Two months ago, she welcomed Marquis, a healthy baby boy, and her care continues through our new home visiting program, Healthy Start. Through the program, case managers provide her with any support and encouragement she needs as a new mom. Marquis, like his mom, is now a patient at our Conway Health and Resource Center.
Motivated by her children and wanting to be their role model, Natasha has hopes of working again and moving into a bigger home. She credits Community of Hope for allowing her to focus on family and not worry about where they’ll sleep at night.
“I may have seen a lot, but I’ve overcome it all too,” she proudly adds. “Community of Hope has transformed me.”