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Over the past three decades, Housing Up’s affordable housing and support services have transformed the lives of the District’s most vulnerable families. From serving 13 families to nearly 900 households in the city, seeing the power of affordable housing inspires us to continue helping our community thrive.  

Tanica Hunter and her family are a wonderful example of what families can achieve when they have access to safe, affordable housing. Ms. Hunter, along with her five children, have been a part of Housing Up since 2008 as residents of Partner Arms 2 and later moved to Fort View apartments in 2011. Through her time with Housing Up, she has balanced motherhood and worked toward achieving her goal of becoming a registered nurse.  

“Studying and being more focused and putting those extra hours in at night just to focus on a concept is what helped me strive through this,” she said.

Despite the challenges that come with being a single mother of five earning a nursing degree, Ms. Hunter’s resilient spirit keeps her going. With support from Housing Up’s Resident Services, she has been able to dedicate more time toward focusing on her studies. Specifically, the tutoring program has greatly benefited her and her family. The additional time and academic support our resident services program provides her children allows Ms. Hunter more flexibility to be a student. 

“I’ll send my kids there for tutoring. So, that gave me time to cook dinner or do a lot of studying and if I wanted to.”

Because of these resources, she has been able to excel academically. In January 2018, she completed the National External Diploma Program (NEDP) with support from Academy of Hope & Housing Up volunteer tutors. Her success serves as a testament to Ms. Hunter’s unfailing determination. Through this High School Diploma equivalent initiative, Ms. Hunter made the first step towards becoming a registered nurse. Yet, even though Ms. Hunter was set on achieving this goal, balancing the responsibilities of being a student, single mother, and future nurse remained a struggle.    

“Even in nursing school, you’re still ‘mom.’ You still have to be ‘mommy.’ It’s really hard because you have to get these credits in and pass these classes and take these tests.” 

Nevertheless, the demands of being a single mother dealing with rigorous coursework didn’t stop her from embracing such challenges. At the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) starting in the fall of 2021, Ms. Hunter completed her nursing school prerequisites with the help of Housing Up’s Resident Services. With over 10 years of experience as a Certified Nursing Assistant and nursing school graduation in May 2023, Ms. Hunter is prepared to enter a new chapter of her life.  

“Right now, my next goal, since I have finished nursing school, I really do want to buy a house to house for me and my children. I think that a big part of helping me get my accomplishment is me being in subsidized housing.”

Not only did living at Fort View assist Ms. Hunter along her journey by giving her access to safe and affordable housing, but it also gave her the chance to expand her goals on a personal and professional level. Living in this environment has encouraged Ms. Hunter to dream bigger. As she looks to the future, she hopes that she can help people through nursing the same way Housing Up has helped people through housing.   

“Now, I want to venture out and get a bigger space for me and my children to give someone else that chance. I hope that they have come in and looked at [Housing Up] as a stepping stone on being better and doing better things for themselves.” 

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