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Pre-Christmas furniture donation helps young mother escaping violence, homelessness

Corneka Cleveland made the difficult choice to give up the roof over her head, in search of someplace safe for her and her daughter.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- When is furniture more than furniture? When it provides comfort and safety to a family in need.

Just three days before Christmas, a young Columbus mother and her baby are getting a new start, thanks to her hard work, and the generosity of strangers.

On Friday, 21-year-old Corneka Cleveland moved into her new home.

"Today is move-in day and I'm excited. I've been working hard and me and my daughter, I feel like we needed a new place and I got us one!" Cleveland said.

Her new home and hope of a new life didn't come easy. She came from a situation of violence.

"Mostly verbal," she said. "I only allowed it to get violent one time. It's not good for the baby to be around certain things. She doesn't deserve to know hostility and fighting and yelling and stuff like that."

She made the difficult choice to give up the roof over her head, in search of someplace safe for her and her daughter.


"I just...I'm glad she can't remember. I'm glad my baby can't remember any of that. I used to think when she would cry in the middle of the night and I would go in her room, like is she dreaming about this?"

Corneka found support, mentoring and shelter at Huckleberry House.

Their transitional living program requires young adult to work, be enrolled in school, and set aside money for their futures.

Last week, Corneka graduated from that program. And her hard work and dedication is why she's getting much more than just a new apartment.

CORT Furniture delivered items for her new house Friday. BJ Hoertz and his crew got to play Santa for Corneka and her daughter.

"We're delivering I think it's about 30 pieces of furniture. Everything from the kitchen table, sofa and chair, even a TV, some artwork and stuff for them to hang up," said Hoertz. "That's what the whole season is about right? If you have the opportunity to help someone, you need to help someone."

In less than two hours, an empty apartment became home, right down to the art on the wall.

Hoertz personally picked out a print of the Eiffel Tower for Corneka's bedroom.

"When you wake up every morning, in your own bed, I want you to think about how far you've come to get to this point. And when you look at this, I want you to think about how far you could possibly go."


It's a gift that leaves Corneka at a loss.

"There aren't enough words to say how grateful I am."

Her journey hasn't been a smooth one.

For her daughter, and their future together, she'd do it all over again.

"So she could have a comfortable place to live, a warm bed, things like that," she said. "It's like the lottery. Like whatever the mega-million is, it's mine. And I don't even have to pay taxes on it. That's what it means to me. Me and Charli's home. It's our home. And it's been made a home as of today."

If you're a young person in need of shelter or other services, you can call the Huckleberry House Crisis Line at 614-294-5553.
More information: http://huckhouse.org/help