Nineteen-year-old Dwanna Washington arrived at Room at the Inn on March 8 and is leaving April 11.

“My family kicked me out of the house when my son, E.J., was just two months old. I stayed with my boyfriend at an Economy Inn for about two months until we could no longer afford it,” recalls Dwanna.  “During those months, I kept calling the homeless hotline and on March 8, there was an opening at Room and my son and I came here.”

When Dwanna arrived at Room, she was frightened and confused.  Client Coordinator, Angela Hamilton talked with Dwanna about her goals and helped her to identify some of the steps she needed to take in order to provide for E. J. and herself.  Dwanna was determined to be out of Room’s program in 30 days. When Angela found out that Almost Home had an opening, she moved swiftly to work with Dwanna and to make a referral for her.

Almost Home is a local program that focuses on inspiring teen moms to create a better life for themselves and their children. Young mothers, teamed with professional staff, are able to develop the emotional, social, economic, academic and life skills that enable these young mothers to become self-sufficient, responsible adults and parents to their children. Almost Home’s program is unique in that they provide assistance and support for two years or more.

“I had my interview with Almost Home on Monday and on Wednesday, they called to tell me I was accepted into the program,” says Dwanna. “She asked when I wanted to move in and I told her Thursday, so E.J. and I are moving out tomorrow. I am very excited.”  Dwanna has succeeded in accomplishing one of her first goals.

Dwanna and her son will move into Almost Home’s transitional housing program, which will help her to get back on her feet.  After successfully completing that program, Dwanna can qualify to move into the Almost Home Apartments, located across the street from the transitional housing building. The apartments were created as a stepping stone to full independence, but are not meant to be a young woman‘s permanent living space. Dwanna already has specific goals in mind to ensure she can provide stable housing for E.J. moving forward.

“My first goal once, we are settled at Almost Home, is to get my GED. I was supposed to graduate this June, but I became homeless at the beginning of the semester and had to leave school,” explains Dwanna. “Once I have my GED, I plan on working toward my next goal – to be an LPN. I have looked into many careers and the nursing field has many options and job opportunities once I have my license.”

Site Coordinator Sharon Blount has also been working with Dwanna over the past month and definitely sees her potential. “Dwanna has the compassion and the heart to be an LPN,” says Sharon. “Not everyone does, but this young woman is a giver.  I am expecting her to meet her goals, but at her own pace because she is a devoted mom and knows she has to be responsible for her son. She has accomplished so much in 30 days at Room, so I know she can do it. We are all proud of her.”

We wish Dwanna success as she continues her journey to self-sufficiency and stability.