Faith Bartley wants a home to call her own. Not just a rented room, but somewhere that can take her away from the community that she’s known all her life.

“I was born and raised in this community, so I know everybody. From the time that I was a child and up until now,” Bartley, now 53, said. “Right now, I reside in a room, because every time I go look for an apartment, they go into my criminal history. Even though my record has been expunged, there are still some drug felonies on my criminal history that can’t be removed, because I was convicted of it.”

Bartley is a fixture in her neighborhood, doing what she can to help others. A the start of our conversation, she was even interrupted by someone asking if she had coffee.

“No sir, ain’t no coffee, bro,” She said. “Brotha, close my door. I’m in an interview.”

She doesn’t sugarcoat her past. Over the years, she’s spent time in and out of prisons, mainly for drug possession. When she saw the drug dealers in her neighborhood riding in nice cars and making fast money, it was a no-brainer to get involved, imagining she could live a similar lifestyle. All it took was selling her first bundle of drugs.

Read the rest of the story here…

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Dominique “Peak” Johnson is a North Philadelphia journalist. He is one of the founding editors and writers of the North Philly Metropolis, blogger for The Huffington Post and contributing writer to numerous online publications. Click here to learn more about Peak.