"How safe are you in this city? The police officer that just got killed the other day . . . if you could do that to a cop, what could you do to me? These kids, they need an outlet. And this community is not it. North Philly is not it... These kids have nowhere to go for safety or fun."
Melanie is 25 and has a 5 year-old son. Her son, Shamar, has congenital heart disease and had open-heart surgery when he was six weeks old. His heart condition has caused developmental delays so that Shamar is still unable to talk and receives regular motor skills and speech therapy. He also attends a special needs day care, for which Melanie pays nearly $300 a week out-of-pocket because she is still on a waiting list for CCIS. Melanie works full-time in the medical field and receives Medicaid, Food Stamps and SSI for Shamar’s condition. On her income and with food stamps Melanie is usually able to provide for her son’s needs, but she is concerned about safety in the community. Melanie recently moved back into her mother’s home because the apartment that she was able to afford on her own was located in a dangerous neighborhood and she began to feel unsafe living there alone with her son.