By John Kelly, columnist
The Washington Post
January 4, 2017
Rashidah Shabazz looked across the living room of her Southeast Washington apartment and pleaded with Jamia Morrow, a case manager from Community of Hope, a charity that helps lift District families from homelessness. Maybe Jamia could answer a few of my questions?
“I told you I was going to sit here and let you talk,” Jamia said, not unkindly. “Me telling your story is not as powerful as you telling your own story.”
Rashidah sighed. “I could miss something,” she said. “I don’t know how to say it. If it gets too deep, I start crying.”
But it was her story, and Rashidah told it well: how she became pregnant at 15 by a man 10 years her senior. How she dropped out of school. How she went into foster care. She described how she’d found something close to love in some foster homes but ran away from others. She talked about being homeless.
When Rashidah, 25, talked about her son Isaiah, now 9, she took down from a shelf a snow globe and a small wooden box, its lid adorned with plastic jewels. Inside the hand-decorated box was a pair of earrings, a gift from Isaiah.
This was the first Christmas, Rashidah said, when Isaiah had thought as much about giving presents as receiving them.
“He don’t know how much it means to me,” she said while doing exactly what she’d feared: crying.
Rashidah’s life has not been easy. She never returned to school after dropping out. She has two more children now: 4-year-old Ka’zayah and 16-month-old Kendall. Hers is one of 115 families that receive intensive support in Community of Hope’s permanent supportive-housing program.
Community of Hope housing specialists help clients find apartments. It helps with the security deposit and helps the families move in.
Story continued in The Washington Post.