Growing up in Boulevard Homes on Charlotte’s west side, Diamond Staton-Williams never imagined that she would one day be a successful healthcare professional managing a staff of 28 with the region’s largest hospital system. In fact, when she reflects on her younger years as a student in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system and her time at Garinger High School, she is overcome with a sense of gratitude at the opportunities that have come her way.
Staton-Williams is a former resident of Cheshire Chase Apartments, one of DreamKey Partners’s rental workforce housing communities in northeast Charlotte. Like many who live in workforce housing, she fell upon tough times after becoming pregnant with her oldest daughter while attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After leaving the university and moving back home, she worked a full-time job at First Union Bank and part-time at Allstate Insurance Company to pay for childcare and save money to move out of her mother’s home. She moved into Cheshire Chase in 1998 after being on a waitlist for 10 months.
“The property manager [Joe] was so helpful. I didn’t know how to navigate utilities or turn the hot water off or anything and he was such a resource,” said Staton-Williams as she recalled her best memories about living at Cheshire Chase. “I had some really good neighbors, and I’m still friends with some of them to this day.” She praised DreamKey Partners and its onsite property management team for providing financial education and budgeting tips to the residents.
After living at Cheshire Chase for two years, Staton-Williams moved in with her now-husband of 20 years. She has gone on to obtain both a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and a Master of Healthcare Administration. A newly-elected town councilmember for Harrisburg, NC and graduate of Community Building Initiative’s Leaders Under 40 Program, Staton-Williams believes her time at Cheshire Chase gave her the essential skills she needed to be successful in many aspects of her life. “I can honestly say that if I hadn’t lived at Cheshire Chase, I would never have known how to manage my increased salary as a nurse,” she said. “Those apartments were my saving grace.”