There are an average of 2,193 people experiencing homelessness in Baltimore City on any given day, according to a 2020 report for the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Every person included in that statistic has a name, and one of their names is Diamond. The Baltimore native suffered severe injuries in a car crash in 2019, leaving her unable to work and eventually homeless with three children.
“I had nowhere to go,” said the 23-year-old. “I heard about Catholic Charities and the Weinberg Housing and Resource Center, so I called them and my life changed. My case manager, ShaTia White, had so much confidence in me, she never gave up on me the entire year I was there. She honestly gave me the motivation to start the process of getting my mental and physical health together, so I can have the strength to get my kids back, because the city took them when I was living on the street. I even went to see a therapist at Our Daily Bread.”
Building confidence is a powerful first step. Diamond’s case manager works with numerous clients at Weinberg Housing and Resource Center, which is Baltimore City’s largest overnight shelter. Before the pandemic, it housed 175 men and 75 women, plus 25 medically-referred individuals in the convalescent care dorm. Now operating out of hotels to protect residents, the low-barrier shelter provides each resident with a case manager, workshops and resource referrals, and a caring staff committed to honoring the dignity of each individual. They get breakfast and dinner at the shelter; lunch is across the street at Our Daily Bread Employment Center.
“Despite the variety of obstacles that may have hindered her progress, Diamond demonstrated a maturation in her ability to properly handle situations and take accountability,” said White. “There were several scenarios that could’ve prevented Diamond from moving onto the next step, but she was determined to see the end result.”
On January 11, 2020, Diamond left Weinberg Housing and Resource Center and moved into a three-bedroom apartment. Diamond is actively looking for a job and to enroll in parenting and anger management classes, as part of her ongoing desire for greater custody of her children.
“I appreciate Ms. White for seeing the value in me,” said Diamond. “Her assistance made a huge difference in my life. If I could give her a raise I would, because her time was appreciated.”
Residents at Weinberg Housing and Resource Center include individuals who identify as LGBTQ, individuals with low-income jobs, persons with substance use disorders, veterans, and those with mental or physical health challenges.
“The journey of placing a client in a home is not easy, but it’s rewarding to provide the steps for the clients we serve,” said White.