SOON THEREAFTER, Maya’s caseworker at SOME called with good news. An apartment was available at SOME’s Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building, a two-year transitional housing program for families. Maya could sign a lease right away. “I went back to DC general that night, packed up me and Heaven’s stuff, and I did not look back,” remembers Maya.
One open door soon led to another, and over the course of the next year, Maya’s and Heaven’s lives started changing for the better. “Coming from a place of a broken world, you don’t trust,” explains Maya’s case worker, Ms. Fatimah. “So, you have to build the trust first. Then she was able to walk with us through the process of stabilizing her life.” As part of SOME’s whole person approach, that meant getting Maya and Heaven access to the tools they needed to get on and stay on a path to sustainability.
“What does that mean?” says Ms. Fatimah. “Learning about finances, learning about your credit, learning about how to interview, learning about what’s the difference between a job and a career.” It meant getting Heaven back to a place where she was healthy enough to go to school. It meant helping Maya find a school where Heaven could get the speech therapy she needed, alongside opportunities to grow socially and emotionally. My job, explains Fatimah, was “to show Maya a different path for her life and walk her through those steps. Every step forward was about getting her to see, ‘This is the life I truly want. I know I have a lot of steps to get there, but it can be done,’” explains Fatimah.
“Since branching out in the program and learning, my attitude is not “me and my daughter against the world” anymore,” says Maya. “Knowing that I have a stable place to come and lay my head each night, that I don’t have to sleep with one eye open, it feels great,” says Maya. “If you asked me to describe SOME, I would describe SOME as a life changer. It changed my life.”
TODAY, Maya and Heaven are second year residents of the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Building. Maya has a job, studies nursing and plans to graduate soon. Heaven is healthy and thriving as a student in preschool, where she has made great strides with her speech, school readiness, and social and emotional development.