“Now I Have Hope for a Safe Home”

baby with earringsBy Reniece T.*

I am a single mother of a beautiful baby girl named Jamika.* I love her more than anything, but I really wish I could have waited to have her because there are a lot of things I wanted to accomplish first. I wanted to get a good job and have a home where my child can be comfortable and safe.

Right now, my life is not like that. I have a high school diploma, but I don’t have a job or a safe place to stay. Fortunately, I enrolled in the Teen Parent Empowerment Program at Healthy Babies Project. The staff is helping me learn to parent Jamika, find a job, and find a place to live.

Where to live?

Our housing situation has become a crisis. For awhile, Jamika and I had been jumping back and forth between friends’ houses in D.C., Baltimore, Germantown, MD and Springfield, VA. But that can’t continue. My mom tries to help at times, but she is a heavy drinker and smoker. At the same time, my brothers are in and out of the house with drugs and weapons and other harmful, dangerous things. Not too long ago, one of my brothers was shot in front of our house during his gang’s shoot out. Another day, a stranger simply ran into our house in order to hide drugs. My baby girl cannot live in that type of environment. But sometimes I have no choice but to stay there because she and I need a roof over our heads and a way to keep us out of the cold.

Steps I’m taking

I am grateful to have the help of the Healthy Babies Project staff. They are very helpful and are connected to all kinds of resources. My HBP family support worker recently took me to a job interview and I’m waiting to hear the outcome. She also went with me to enroll at the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center (the central intake office for all families requesting emergency housing and assistance in the District of Columbia) to help me find a place to live. At least now, I have hope that I’ll be able to raise my daughter in a safe place. With the help of Healthy Babies Project, I am taking steps to make a stable life for me and my baby.  

If you know a pregnant woman or expectant family who needs help, please refer them to HBP at (202) 396-2809.

* name changed for confidentiality