Nonprofit ‘disposed of’ Richmond mother’s belongings, leaves family without home days after C-section

Taking Action

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Support has been pouring in today after Nicole Thweatt shared her story with 8News. We reported last night that the mother of three was displaced from her temporary home at a Richmond hotel while she was in the hospital for an emergency cesarean section.

“There still is some good people out here who are willing to help a stranger,” she said on Tuesday afternoon.

Thweatt says that she feels overwhelmed with the response she’s received and she is taking the time to reply to people who have contacted her as soon as she can. She’s thankful for the chance to share her story and is currently talking with several people about possible housing tonight and in the days ahead.

While her baby remains in the NICU, she’s trying to keep the message positive for her two older children who are 7 and 11 years old, explaining that they don’t know the severity of the situation. She doesn’t want to tell her kids how bad it is right now because she doesn’t want them to think that mom is letting them down.

8News continues to talk with the Thweatt family and will continue sharing updates to their story.

Our previous report:

Nicole Thweatt
Nicole Thweatt in her car

After having a cesarean section at the hospital, a mother experiencing homelessness was heartbroken to find the Richmond hotel room she was living in was emptied, and a new family had moved in. Commonwealth Catholic Charities, the nonprofit group offering the temporary housing, pointed to a communication issue and the two-month timeline people are offered housing as to why this family was displaced.

Nicole Thweatt is unsure where to turn, one week after delivering her newborn daughter Ni’Jae who weighs less than two pounds.

In an interview with 8News while inside in her car where she lives alone with her 11 and 7-year-old children, Thweatt pointed to the small collection of newly donated clothes and water bottles.

“All these little containers are breast milk storage bottles,” she said, noting she should be pumping breast milk but does not have the ability to store it.

After leaving the hospital and returning to the Days Inn hotel off Midlothian Turnpike the family was living in, Thweatt described a shocking discovery at the room door.

“Before I put the key in, I heard voices on the other side. And so, I knocked, and a little girl had open the door,” she said

Another family had moved in. Her belongings were gone.

“Clothes, shoes, hats, coats … all of our Social Security cards, Medicaid cards,” she said.

A representative with Commonwealth Catholic Charities, who helps house people without homes like Thweatt at the hotel, said they “disposed of” the belongings.

Commonwealth Catholic Charities Vice President of Mission Advancement Jessica Wells said if rooms are not being used, the organization moves in another family.

But Thweatt said no one contacted her in advance, saying “I feel like I’ve been robbed of my whole life.”

“With me being in the hospital, I did not know that I had to call anyone and let them know that I’m having my baby early,“ Thweatt said.

Nicole Thweatt children
Nicole Thweatt’s two older children

For now, the car is home. Tonight, her oldest kids are at a friend’s house, but she described how the trio have been sleeping; and nights are getting colder.

“My son, he likes to sleep beside me and lean the seat all the way back. And my daughter, she’ll just lay back here.”

Wells went on to say that their housing program at the hotel is not “never-ending,“ and intervention lasts for 60 days. Thweatt was there for that amount of time and says she did not know of any impending end to her housing accommodation.

We asked Wells why Commonwealth Catholic Charities did not call Thweatt her before removing her belongings, pointing to a communication issue, Thweatt was “no longer a client,” and she could reapply for the program.

Thweatt said she has no intention of reapplying with Commonwealth Catholic Charities.

Wells said she could not further comment on the specifics of this case, but said people are asked to leave if they have stayed longer than 60 days and if they do not adhere to program policies which include meeting with staff, continuing to live in the room and following health and safety procedures.

Reach out to 8News at 804-330-8888 or by emailing news@wric.com for information on how to reach Thweatt.

Nicole Thweatt with her daughter in the NICU
Nicole Thweatt with her daughter in the NICU

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