After leaving a violent relationship, she ended up at McDougald Terrace. Now, she never wants to go back

Friday, January 17, 2020
McDougald residents seek dignity amid housing crisis
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McDougald residents seek dignity amid housing crisis

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- There are many misconceptions about public housing: "People in public housing don't work." "Residents who live in public housing are entangled in crime and substance abuse."

Axioms like these don't represent the majority of residents.

Truth is, people who live in public housing are humans with the same hopes, dreams, fears and flaws as anyone else. They all have a story.

"Stop dismissing us like we're misfit kids," said Katrina Ferrell.

ABC11 also spoke with another resident, Tanya Kelley, who is college-educated and is working to support her three children and grandchildren.

But hard times forced her into a situation she never thought she would be in.

She came from a relationship that involved domestic violence.

"I worried all the time," she said. "I knew then if anybody hits you with a baby in your arms, you're dead. I took the hits and got out and never looked back."

And then McDougald came along and I was like, 'OK, I can clear my credit.'"

What was a blessing became a burden.

"Every day I open up the windows and doors because it has a smell to it. The mold," Kelley said. "You really think I'm going to pick McDougald Terrace to raise my family? I'm there because of my circumstances."

According to research by the Institute for Children and Poverty, domestic violence is among the leading causes of homelessness and housing instability for women.

"Do I wanna go back to MCDougald? Well...No, no ma'm," Kelley said. "McDougald was not my final destination. It wasn't then and it's not now."