2011 Success Story Archive
Self-Sufficiency Following Multiple Setbacks
A single male in his late 60s came to New Hope Housing (NHH) at the Eleanor Kennedy Shelter seeking assistance. He was unable to afford independent housing. During his time at the shelter, he began receiving pension from his former employer. With the assistance of the employment director, he obtained supportive employment at a community hospital. He then moved into NHH’s transitional housing program. While there, he worked with a case manager, received his Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and moved into an apartment on Route 1. Shortly after working full-time, he lost his job due to the community hospital losing their contract, thus the pension again became his only income. The resident then suffered a stroke and was unable to secure work. With the assistance of his social worker with the Fairfax County Division of Adult and Aging Services, he applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and was referred back to NHH for Housing Opportunities Support Teams (HOST) rental assistance. Cheerfully, this client was provided with three months of rental assistance and connected to other agencies for one additional month's assistance until his SSDI was approved and now he is again able to afford market rate housing.
Hypothermia Program Impacts Pathway
A resident released from prison signed up for FACETS' Hypothermia Prevention and Response Program the second night after his release. He stayed in the shelter for approximately two months. During that time FACETS expedited his rapid re-housing. He opted to participate in the case management services and connected with critical housing and employment resources. He is now in a sober living facility, working full time in a skilled construction job and has made important steps toward rebuilding positive connections with his family. He continues to access FACETS services through community case management services and is working on budgeting and looking at permanent housing opportunities.
Significant Gift By One Individual
A real estate owner and builder made a special gift to Homestretch that will go a long way to helping families who are homeless. He rented 10 apartments to Homestretch for only $300 a month to house families who are homeless. Each of these apartments would be between $1,800 and $3,200 on the market — $300 a month will just cover his costs. This special donation means that Homestretch can rent apartments at such a low rate, they can increase their capacity at a minimal cost and house more families who are homeless. For example, to rent a three-bedroom apartment for a homeless family at market rate, approximately $1,300 a month, costs Homestretch $15,600 a year; 10 of these apartments would be $156,000 (not including utilities and maintenance). This donor's generosity means that Homestretch will be able to rent one apartment for only $3,600 a year; 10 apartments would only cost Homestretch $36,000. The savings to Homestretch are momentous.
Assistance for Unexpected Circumstances
A working grandmother unexpectedly gained custody of her grandson after her daughter died. Her expenses increased to the extent that she was no longer able to pay the rent on time for her basement apartment. She contacted Coordinated Services Planning and received financial assistance to pay her back rent, preventing eviction. In addition, the grandmother and her young grandson were assisted in finding an affordable rental unit. They moved into their new home this month. She also was referred to the Ways to Work program and is buying a car with assistance. Having a reliable car will help her get to her part-time job more conveniently and also allow her to spend more time with her grandson.
Family Moved to Permanent Housing
A couple and their young child entered temporary housing with no income for permanent housing while waiting for a vacancy to open in the shelter. By the time their names came to the top of the shelter wait list, FACETS had assisted this family as both parents found employment, their child was enrolled in daycare and the family was able to move to permanent housing. They used their savings and homeless program financial assistance to pay first month’s rent and security deposit.
Trusting Guidance and Services
A county resident was referred to the Homeless Opportunities and Support Team (HOST) program last spring when her sister passed away. She had quit her job several years earlier to take care of her ailing sister and now was unable to afford the rent on her own. Due to grief and being in the same home for over 15 years, she resisted services at first. She worked on and off with her case manager until she made the decision to move and seek more affordable housing. With the assistance of her case manager and financial assistance, the resident was able to rent a room. She has since gained full-time employment, despite being out of the work force for several years, and received four months of rental assistance. She now makes enough money through employment and her pension to cover the full cost of rent. Her goal is to move into permanent housing this summer with continued support and guidance from her case manager.
Self-Sufficiency Made Possible
A fifty-year old single man had been homeless since he was a teenager and a frequent resident of one of New Hope Housing’s (NHH) emergency shelter programs. Aside from staying in the hypothermia shelters, he had primarily lived outdoors. Due to complications with diabetes he was wheelchair bound and also had severe arthritis in his hands – making it difficult for him to complete ordinary tasks such as signing his name or preparing food. He also struggled with alcohol dependence and had been arrested on several occasions for being intoxicated in public. He finally came to realize that due to his health issues it was no longer practical for him to live outdoors. He was initially nervous about living indoors, yet as staff worked to build a trusting relationship with him, he became more comfortable with acquiring new living arrangements. In fact, staff soon learned that he was adept at handling his complicated medical needs, was a good writer, had a sharp sense of humor and was an incredible gardener. A few months later, he received a housing choice voucher. In addition, an housing locator was eventually successful at finding a wheelchair accessible unit. He is doing well in his new apartment with staff providing ongoing aftercare services.
Starting a New Life
A young mother moved in to the U.S. with a dream to start a new life with her husband and children. Soon after, her husband became abusive and she became a victim of domestic violence. After two turbulent years she was left homeless and alone with her two children, without the ability to communicate in English, and with many mental health issues. She suffered from deep depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety, which lead to more problems. She finally entered the Katherine K. Hanley Family Shelter and despite the many obstacles that faced her, she successfully completed the program. In less than 60 days after completing the program, she was able to obtain and maintain full-time employment while complying with mandatory outside parenting classes and therapy four days a week. She continuously demonstrated willingness to meet the expectations of the program by saving money and meeting with her case manager regularly. She was able to secure housing on her own with no financial assistance from the shelter staff. Continued community case management services were provided to her after she moved into permanent housing. She continues to thrive independently with little assistance from the community.
Couple Helped by Diminishing Funds
A couple who has been homeless for more than two years received case management from FACETS after staying in a hypothermia prevention shelter. Eventually the couple was able to obtain an apartment with the assistance of HPRP funds. Since obtaining housing, the head of household was able to dispute credit inaccuracies, develop a resume and apply for jobs while his significant other was able to apply for a birth certificate.
A Solution to Chronic Homelessness
Diagnosed with alcohol abuse, a chronically homeless 56 year old county resident has not taken a drink in seven years! During his shelter stay, he worked diligently at acquiring and maintaining employment, regularly attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and also saved $2,300. With the help of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB), the Community Treatment Team North and a Tenant-Based Rental Assistance voucher, this client has successfully resided in a condo close to his employment, public transportation and shopping. Often employed in seasonal work, he maintains contact with CSB for job application assistance.
Winter Shelter Program Makes an Impact
The Falls Church Winter Shelter program has successfully provided services during the hypothermia season launched this winter — serving 37 unduplicated individuals since Dec. 1. More than 300 volunteers have provided shelter shift coverage, 700 meals, and assured food and other operating staples. The Lamb Center, First Christian Safe Haven, Unity Club and the Wellness Center, have provided local day services to residents. In addition to providing counseling and access to other social services, the program has helped two residents moved into permanent supportive housing programs and two others with market-rate housing. Also, with the help of the program, three residents secured placement in local emergency shelters.
From Homeless to Helping Others
Former client with Volunteers of America (VOA) Chesapeake's shelter program created a volunteer activity for members of the nonprofit organization’s current and former residents along with the surrounding community involving cleaning up a local campsite where he once lived. The event was intended to not only celebrate his progress, but to give closure to his previous challenges — struggling with substance abuse and living unemployed outside at the campsite for more than 20 years. He has since turned his life around, secured housing, committing himself to staying sober for nearly two years, and volunteering with VOA Chesapeake — thus, helping others through the struggles of homelessness.