For the first time in a long while, Tanganika Davis feels comfortable in her surroundings.
The single mother and her 1-year-old son, Wyhavius, have found a home at Savannah's Hope House and a handle on creating a future.
"I'm working to be on my own," said Ms. Davis, 19.
Hope House provides shelter and support in a home setting for women such as Ms. Davis - homeless single mothers with one child. Each has her own story, her own demons she must overcome to return to independent living.
Ms. Davis is "motivated. She's mature," said Sheila Henderson, the executive director at Hope House. "She has what it takes for us to work with her. Hopefully, by the first of April, she'll become among our first in transitional housing."
Savannah's Hope House is not affiliated with Augusta's Hope House and Hope House II, which are halfway houses for women recovering from substance abuse.
Savannah's new Phase II transitional program will be in a four-plex on the city's southside. It will provide supervised living for eight women and their children in four apartments. To qualify, the women must complete Phase I, Second Chance Home, in a midtown Savannah home.
"She must be motivated to make life better for herself and her child," Ms. Henderson said.
Ms. Davis likes her new surroundings.
"I'm very happy," she said as her son toddled around her. "I have my own little space, and I'm not worried as much or afraid."
She also has found a lot of people who are concerned about her, Ms. Davis said. The journey has not been easy for the Oglethorpe County native.
"I had to grow up fast," Ms. Davis recalled. "My mother didn't really care. My stepdaddy was a crackhead."
A little marijuana, a brief jail stay and several part-time homes were in her future. When she got pregnant, Ms. Davis found Nazareth Home in Macon - a house for pregnant single moms.
"I really got there because I wanted to be," Ms. Davis said. "I wanted to get somewhere where I'm wanted. It was a wonderful place."
But after her son was born Dec. 31, 2000, she had to leave. Ms. Davis and her son made their way to Savannah in February 2001. With the help of Nazareth House, she was directed to Hope House.
Ms. Davis never completed high school. In Savannah, she found the Teen-aged Parenting Program, a Savannah-Chatham County public schools program managed by Parent & Child Development Services.
Ms. Davis hopes to graduate in December, then work in nursing or a similar field.
"I hate to brag on myself, but I'm getting A's and B's," she said. "I'm proud of myself. I did well."