I was in high school and living at home with my parents when I found out I was pregnant. When my son, Dietrich, was just three months old my dad told me to find somewhere else to live. We always had a troubled relationship but I hadn’t expected to be turned out like that.
Desperate and not sure where to go, I found a job as live-in nanny. Unfortunately, complications between the parents led to elimination of that position. It was then that I applied for Warren Village.
When I applied, the wait for an apartment at Warren Village was 6 months. An immediate solution was to move in with my son’s father and his mother. Dietrich’s grandmother was very welcoming but his father was not as accepting. His emotional abuse led me to fear doing anything. I would wake up at 2:00am to the sound of him and his friends partying and making a lot of noise, unconcerned about anyone else and completely unaffected by the fact that there was a baby living in the house. He became very controlling, not allowing me to seek support from friends or family due to his jealousy. I found messages to other women about how he resented me for living with him. My temporary fix couldn’t be temporary enough.
When I received the call that an apartment at Warren Village was available, I could immediately feel the change coming on. Once everything was moved in, Dietrich walked in, lied in the bed and fell asleep. Home was long overdue.
I did not waste time getting started on my path to self-sufficiency. After settling in, I enrolled in college to pursue a nursing career and applied for TANF benefits in order to fund childcare for Dietrich while I attended class. I started school in fall 2010 and have already completed 32 credits in a year’s time.
I have also noticed that I have become more comfortable in social situations as well. With the help of the family advocates and life skills classes, I have gained awareness of my strengths and weaknesses. While I admit I’m not perfect, I’m working on my weaknesses and trying to grow. I have been exposed to tools for sound financial practices, including an Individual Development Account (IDA) through Mile High United Way that helps me save money for school. I also found an evening life skills class about anger management very helpful. My relationships with my family have improved due to some of the techniques I learned in a relationship class about communicating. The integration of lessons learned has shown me what I desire in a partner. I haven’t dated since moving into Warren Village because I now know what I’m looking for and I’m not willing to settle for less.
Community has come to mean a great deal to me at Warren Village. I am a member of L.E.A.D., a ten-month leadership program designed to cultivate strong leaders and foster community involvement among residents. Representing L.E.A.D., I attended the Housing Colorado conference in Vail last fall. A workshop about youth homelessness at the conference inspired me to become more involved with Urban Peak, a local organization that works with homeless and runaway youth. Along with my fellow L.E.A.D. members, we coordinated an awareness campaign and fundraising effort to benefit Urban Peak.
I was unaware of affordable housing until Warren Village. I didn’t know there was an option that could make going back to school so feasible and I didn’t know about the community that would form my new support system. Everyone who works at Warren Village works with the residents closely and actually cares. Other case managers are often overworked and can’t invest any emotion or real amount of time. The advocates here check in regularly and offer advice; they are very helpful and caring.
Next, I am applying for affordable housing through Denver Housing Authority so I can continue my journey towards completing my education to become a nurse. There is still a long road ahead, but with the skills and the supportive people I have found at Warren Village, I know I can make it.