Anthony Durant lights up when he talks about his four-year-old son, Amir. “He is very energetic,” laughs Anthony. "He is smart, talkative, loves to learn, wants to get into everything, and is not afraid to get his hands dirty. He wants to be a paleontologist.”
Supporting and encouraging his son comes easy to Anthony, but sometimes that comes with making hard and uncomfortable decisions. One of the hardest was deciding to leave their home and puppy for a fresh start.
Anthony grew up in Washington, DC with his mother and four siblings. He enjoyed school and was excited to attend college until the financial burden of higher education became too much. Anthony was 23 years old when Amir was born, which brought him back to DC to be closer to his family and support network. Although Amir’s mother is not active in his life, Anthony was eager to take on the role of full-time parent for his son.
Living at home has its benefits, as Anthony shares how Amir is loved by his aunts, uncles, and grandparents. But living at home became a concern as unhealthy family dynamics including alcoholism, started to come close to Amir – Anthony’s main priority. He made the difficult decision to leave, which included having to give away Amir’s puppy.
“So here I am, starting completely over,” says Anthony.
Anthony sought help through the Virginia Williams Resource Center, which is the central point of intake for families experiencing homelessness or in search of preventative measures. He was familiar with the resource center, having reached out to them four years prior when his son was an infant. Anthony was connected to Community of Hope’s The Triumph – the Ward 8 Short-Term Housing Site. This program is designed to provide a safe, dignified place to sleep along with case management and support to quickly move into their own apartments (currently, families are moving in an average of 75 days into their places). While grateful for the resources, Anthony found it difficult to navigate the family shelter system as a single father.
“It’s harder for single fathers, we have a lot to prove to get help. We have to prove they are ours, with DNA tests, and prove that we are actually taking care of them.” He is happy to have come to Community of Hope, saying, “They will help you with literally everything you could need.”
Amir has also enjoyed participating in Fam-Club – a volunteer-led opportunity for kids to play, do art, and be read to while parents participate or connect with each other.
Anthony feels optimistic and hopeful that the housing support process is moving forward and that he will have housing soon. Amir helps him keep his spirit up by doing some of their favorite things together, such as going to the trampoline park, fishing, playing t-ball, and eating Amir’s favorite food – pizza! He is looking forward to living on his own with Amir and getting another dog to round out their family. “I want to keep moving forward without taking a step back. I go to therapy, I work full time in facilities for the Smithsonian, and would like to go back to school and keep providing for my son…so he gets to achieve all the goals that he sets.”
Want to be a part of the community supporting families like Anthony and Amir? Volunteer at Fam-Club, learn more here: https://www.communityofhopedc.org/fam-club-triumph