Teresa Smith, a DC resident, cried with gratitude as she shared the painful journey she endured before having her own apartment. “The moment I found out I was getting an apartment; I knew the test was over. Nobody could take my joy.”
The ‘test’ for Teresa started when she was a child, living with her mother who not only struggled with drug addiction but was also a victim of domestic violence. Teresa’s grandmother stepped in to raise her. Her grandmother not only pushed the importance of education but also encouraged Teresa to be all that she could be. “Be good at what you do is what my grandmother used to always tell me.” Even with the support of her loving grandmother, Teresa was still emotionally affected by the lack of love and attention missing from her mother. Teresa said that void only caused her to act out, search for love from others and turn to drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, after her grandmother passed away, things drastically changed for Teresa and she found herself homeless. “I was mad at myself because I was outside for winters, and summers – cold, snow, hail, hot, sometimes almost 100 degrees.”
Being homeless was a nightmare for Teresa. Some nights she had to defend herself from physical assault and theft. This was a painful reality for Teresa for nearly 15 years. But one day while on the streets Teresa met a housing program representative who changed everything. This person connected Teresa to available housing resources, which led her to Community of Hope. Now after being stably housed for four months, Teresa says she has everything she always prayed for. “I love Community of Hope. I prayed for an apartment with a washer, dryer, and microwave and they gave me a nice home with all of that.”
Along with her new home, Teresa is receiving medical and dental care services at Community of Hope and has plans to start utilizing the emotional wellness counseling. Teresa admits that during those challenging moments in her journey, she often wanted to give up- but is glad that she didn’t. “I have big responsibilities now, and making sure I’m taking care of my home and health is first.” Now, Teresa is working towards finding a job, saving money and staying busy.
“Community of Hope has given me hope to keep moving forward.”