Courtney Baucom, a resident living in The Renaissance West neighborhood was interviewed about her journey from homelessness to home ownership. Since living in the Renaissance, Courtney has increased her access to resources, including new opportunities, and is currently changing her life for the better. Her outlook on life is more positive than ever. She has gained new experiences, giving her greater confidence as a mother and business owner.

Before living at Renaissance, Courtney was homeless and 8 months pregnant. She learned about the neighborhood by causally driving by and noticing the new apartments under construction. She took initiative to learn more about the development and housing availability. Then, she set her sights on how she, too, could live at Renaissance. Throughout her time at Renaissance West, her life has become full of hope and possibility.

Courtney describes how the quality and safe environment of Renaissance West had a significant impact on her life. When asked about her experience living in the neighborhood, Courtney said it was “nice and convenient.” She acknowledged that her neighbors were nice and that there are great resources available for the community. Despite the area being a food and healthcare desert, Courtney felt that she still could find all she needed for herself and her family rather than living elsewhere in Charlotte. “Renaissance West provided new resources for [me] to utilize and take advantage of, such as providing educational and health programs that were beneficial for myself and my children.”

Courtney has a dual degree in Health Information Technology and Teaching. With help from her case manager at Renaissance West, she gained an opportunity at the Howard Levine Child Development Center to get her started on her career journey. Overall, she explained that she continues to use various programs operated within the neighborhood, (e.g. computer classes) and others in partnership with organizations like CPCC and more. Having the access and convenience of attending these programs was refreshing to her.

Now, she is starting the process of building her own home. Through one of the programs held at the Renaissance, provided through Fifth Third Bank, Courtney learned about home ownership, budgeting and money management. She learned how to fix her own credit by participating in home buyer courses. Courtney showed much excitement for buying her own home!

When asked if she had any goals she would like to achieve by the end of the year, Courtney described her desire to move toward working for herself. Courtney owns an Italian Ice business and is learning about entrepreneurship to make her dream a reality. To inspire other residents in the community, she offered great advice advocating to “use every resource available at Renaissance West Community Initiative.” Courtney reminds those that your “[Life Navigator] wants you to succeed. They pay attention to the details for your benefit. Every resource that they develop and provide, utilize it. ”

Courtney is taking charge of her life in a brand-new way. Just like Courtney, Renaissance West Community Initiative wants to help and support all residents to set goals and accomplish them. Through a two-generation approach, RWCI’s vision is to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. We look forward to sharing photos of Courtney and her family in their new home very soon!