From Homelessness to Homeowner: Diamond’s Story

Diamond and her kids at Coburn PlaceDiamond arrived at Coburn Place during the pandemic with two toddlers. She had been sleeping on her mother’s couch. “They walked me in here – into the two-bedroom apartment we were blessed with – and I immediately broke down in tears,” she says. “I told myself this is going to be a fresh start for me and my kids.” And it was.

Diamond left her situation after a domestic violence incident that got her arrested. She lost her job because of it and eventually, her home. She moved back in with her mom and started looking for resources.

“That was the last straw for me,” she says. “It was very hard to leave the relationship, but I had to do what was best for me and my babies. After that, I was like, ‘no one is going to be here for my babies, so I’m going to be here for my babies.’ I had to take that initial step and I had to do what was best for us.”

Shortly after moving into her new apartment, Diamond discovered she was pregnant – with twins who are now a year old. Then, the self-described daddy’s girl lost her father.

“It made me emotionally numb,” says Diamond. “Coburn Place allowed me a place to heal – mentally, physically, financially, just all the way around – like a safe haven. Not having to worry about the bills and rent, it was more of a priceless blessing than anyone can ask for.” She believes her new babies were sent to her to help her cope with the loss.

While she was mourning, Diamond says she realized she, too, had played a major part in her story and how she got there. She took accountability and apologized to the people she felt needed it. She refocused and realized to heal, you have to feel. She forgave herself and the people who had hurt her. “Many nights, I cried myself to sleep with the weight of the world on my shoulders,” she says. “Being the mother/daughter/sister/anchor/friend everyone sees as strong, I was at my breaking point. However, I was ready for the new journey ahead of us. Whether it’s good, bad or confusing, you have to be able to embrace every step.”

Diamond says it’s up to survivors to take what Coburn Place offers and run with it. She participated in a little bit of everything. She completed a RentSmart course with Coburn Academy, finance and credit classes, painting and cooking classes, parent/child activities and more. “The exhale of being able to sip grape juice and paint without the kids around yelling ‘mom mom mom mom’ helps so much,” she says.

Diamond is proud of how far she’s come. “I am a lot more settled,” she says. “I’m a lot more patient. I’m a lot more secure. When I first came here, I was scared, I was timid, I was very fragile. But going through the process, along with the help that was given to me, it made me who I am. It made me stronger.” That strength was tested when her brother was murdered in the fall of last year. She had a built-in support system.

“Being a DV victim, you don’t trust everybody,” says Diamond. “Building that trust – and those relationships – opens doors to things we didn’t know we were able to do. The people here are good, they’re professional, they’re efficient, and they don’t mind being that support you need. I’m appreciative of everyone who was along with me on the journey who was pushing me to continue and not give up.”

Her kids are doing well, too. “They’ve overcome a lot,” Diamond says. “My son is the strongest person I know.” He had to deal with the passing of his grandfather, then his uncle. When he first came to Coburn Place, he was a little aggressive, but he’s taken on a leadership role in Children’s Services. “His attitude and interaction with other people have changed. He’s always been outgoing and outspoken, but he’s stepped up a lot,” she says. He and his younger sister adore the twins and argue sweetly about which one is theirs.

Diamond had finished cosmetology school and worked at a nail shop for one of her instructors for tips. “It was more of a learning experience,” she says. “There were days I made a couple dollars and there were days I didn’t make any, but I knew within myself I had to get up every single day with everything I had going on and challenge myself that no matter what I have to make an example for myself, and I have to make sure my kids are OK.”

Diamond had a hard time finding a good job that paid well despite submitting “umpteenth” applications after her high-risk pregnancy was over. Now she has a job she loves working as a logistics manager for a large commercial construction company – a job that allowed her to save enough money to put down on a home. With her savings and faith, she went through the mortgage pre-approval process. She was still applying for places to rent but longed for the stability of a home of her own.

One day while driving, she jumped a curb. She looked around and noticed what a nice, quiet neighborhood she was in. Then she saw the for-sale sign in the yard in front of her. She reached out.

“I was very intentional about what I wanted,” says Diamond. She wanted two bedrooms and full basement and just enough yard so she could hop on a riding lawnmower and cut the grass. She got it.

Poem written by Diamond: Home How long are we here? How long can we stay? Do we have curfews, is there time to pray? Do we have a set schedule that we must stick to? Who is that? Who are you? Breathe in and breathe out, what’s this all about? I’m sorry I don’t mean to scare you All this, I’m not used to May I get comfortable and kick my feet up? This is our new home? How? Lady hush up I don’t know what to say or what to do Can I give you a hug and say thank you? You have no idea what I’ve been going through This is perfect I’ll sleep in here Going back is my biggest fear Look at my babies they’re so happy look at the smiles on their face Our new home was Coburn Place Being here has brought me so much peace Allowing me to get on my feet Providing me with a safe place to think But now it is our time to go Thank you for allowing time for us to grow Eeny Meeny Miny Moe Own a home or another rental? Plant a seed and watch it grow I’ve come so very far You can too raise the bar You can walk or drive a car You can do anything you put your mind to It’s all up to u – The rose that grew from concrete “The neighborhood felt so close to home,” she says. “When I turned on the block, it was a dead-end street, so it felt protected. And once I spoke to the neighbors and the realtor, it was the security I needed. When I walked in the house, I felt safe. It was just immediate peace of mind.”

Diamond is in the process of starting her own nonprofit called Muvas on the Move, focusing on mothers and their mental and physical health, building generational wealth, breaking generational curses and setting healthy boundaries – all centered around becoming the best version of you.

“In the two years I was blessed to be here, I interacted with so many different people,” she says. “I was able to share my story. I was able to empower a lot of other individuals. I would see other people come in and think, ‘They just don’t know how powerful they are.’ A little bit of push or encouragement or a small little interaction can make a big impact.” She was inspired.

Diamond’s advice for anyone in a relationship they want to get out of is, “Just find you. Once you find you, everything else will fall into place. Without me finding myself, I would have never found the courage and strength to go.”

And now she’s going from Coburn Place to her own home and getting back to the things she used to love like writing poetry under the name “The rose that grew from concrete.”

“Coburn Place provided the foundation to allow me to be able to save,” says Diamond. “They provided the foundation for me to reestablish my mental health and my mental strength and to believe in myself all over again. It provided a safe and secure environment for me and my children. I knew I was going to be fine.”