After Her 14-year-old Son Was Shot In The Head, A Mother In Dc Is Struggling To Find A New Safe Place

Shakita Slater anticipated that caring for her shot 14-year-old son would be her biggest challenge. It turns out that finding a secure place to reside would be equally difficult.

Around 10 p.m. on Labor Day 2022, Jayden Mejia, Slater’s son, was shot in the 1700 block of 7th Street NW. He was simply at the wrong location and time, she added.

It turned out to be their house in that “wrong place.” He was shot in the back of the head as he was outside, close to their apartment complex.

The investigation and hunt for the shooter are still ongoing for the D.C. Police. They were seeking for a 2013 Nissan Altima in black with Maryland license plate 8EL7854 in September.

Jayden managed to escape the shooting, but the harm to his brain permanently altered his life.

He is currently confined to a wheelchair and only has limited use of his limbs and other body parts, according to Slater. Then there is a feeding tube, and he also has a trach.

It differs greatly from the football quarterback she has seen him develop into over the past ten years. At Roosevelt High School, she added, “most likely next year, he would have been the starting quarterback.”

Slater has been looking for a new house as her son recovers at the HSC Pediatric Center.

It’s extremely upsetting for me to have to live so close to the building where my son was shot, Slater said.

She stated that HSC intends to release Jayden on January 18, giving her till then to find a new residence.

However, she claimed that finding one that complies with ADA regulations and has enough room for Jayden’s new equipment has been challenging.

She warned that if she can’t locate a location quickly, she may have to either return Jayden to the apartment complex where he was shot or place him in a nursing facility an hour away in Virginia.

She claimed that the latter was not a possibility.

In order to leave her present residence, she claimed to have the DCHA’s emergency moving voucher; nevertheless, she said that other agencies weren’t as helpful.

She specifically mentioned working with the Building Blocks D.C.-funded neighborhood group and the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (ONSE).

Everyone kept saying things to the effect of “Don’t worry, you’ll get the help, you’ll get the help,” but Slater said that he was receiving no assistance.

Building Blocks’ fundamental mission is to “connect citizens to mental health care, stable housing, well-paying jobs, education, and other important supports by meeting them where they are,” according to the organization’s online description. Building Blocks DC is actively addressing the pressing needs of District residents by utilizing a whole of government approach and collaborating with the most impacted groups.

She had hoped that the organization they support would assist her in finding that stable accommodation, but until this week, when WUSA9 contacted them, she claimed they hadn’t responded.

Parents continue to require help following disasters, she said.

She expressed her gratitude for her son at least surviving the shooting. Several of his neighbors didn’t.

Slater claimed to have known Blu Bryant, a 13-year-old who was killed by a gunshot in Shaw in June 2022.

Slater acknowledged that her caseworker had suggested she stay in a hotel, but as of Wednesday morning, she had still not been provided with permanent housing assistance.

As a substitute, she has been looking on her own for a three-bedroom apartment for herself, Jayden, and her younger son Jhamir.

Although D.C. is famed for its resourcefulness, she claimed that there weren’t any programs specifically aimed at this sort of thing.

Slater wants to concentrate her efforts on taking care of Jayden since she has to deal with the fact that he has changed since she last saw him.

He certainly has the ability to brighten any space.

He was just fun to be around because of his magnetic energy. Every day, I miss it,” she remarked.

His primary passion was sports, especially football.

She claimed that as a freshman at Roosevelt Senior High School, he was already the backup quarterback.

At Cleveland Elementary School, where Jhamir now plays, he used to play basketball before that.

Despite not feeling supported by the District of Columbia government, she claimed that both of her sons’ schools had been there for her.

One of her son’s former teachers at Cleveland contacted WUSA9 about her tale, and Roosevelt’s team dedicated jerseys in Jayden’s honor.

When she finds a new home, she claimed they have also volunteered to assist her with the transfer.

She stated that her son’s prognosis is better than what the doctors had anticipated.

“Jayden has been accomplishing so many things that they thought he wouldn’t do, and I have faith in him. He required a breathing machine, they claimed. He does not use a ventilator; he can breathe adequately on his own. He probably wouldn’t be able to see or hear, they said, you know. He hears, “I know.” He’s like, so alert at the drop of a dime,” she remarked.

She’s devoted to working with him to become better every day.

But for her to do that, she first needs a new, secure home.

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