Click on an agency’s name to read a story of a client who changed their life with the help of that agency’s resources.
Meet Ms. Martin – successfully housed and reconnected with family and employment with the help of A-SPAN and the Permanent Supportive Housing team! Ms. Martin spent years on the streets of Arlington, bouncing between friend’s basements and the street and shelter. She first connected with A-SPAN in need of a meal, clean clothes and shelter from a cold winter night. Working in partnership with Arlington County and case managers at A-SPAN, Ms. Martin was connected to programs and services available through the organization’s Permanent Supportive Housing Program. She soon found the security of having a place to call home, a bed to sleep in and a front door that locks. As she continues to work with her A-SPAN case manager and life skills coach, Ms. Martin has found stability, a sense of dignity, and a newfound purpose in life.
“A-SPAN changed my life,” says Ms. Martin. “I have a home; a kitchen table and a kitty play area.” Reconnected to the community, she now sees the possibility of seeing her family again and inviting them to her apartment for a home cooked dinner around her new kitchen table. Ms. Martin now works part-time and enjoys the company of her cat and neighbors. She also is proud to have recently celebrated 1-year successfully housed, with no intentions of ever going back to life on the street. “I feel blessed, and I love A-SPAN,” she tells her case manager every week.
Emily was married with two beautiful girls with a husband who served in the military. After her husband had died by suicide, she found herself alone and facing challenging circumstances. She and her two daughters found themselves without housing and entered Sullivan House. While dealing with the loss of her husband, Emily continued working and caring for her children, and began searching for housing. With Rapid Rehousing financial assistance and case management services, Emily was able to move into an apartment, and she now successfully maintains her housing independently. She continues working for the same employer and has received a raise. Emily says she is grateful for having a place to stay and for receiving financial assistance to get back into housing quickly.
James had been homeless or in jail for almost 3 years before he obtained an Arlington County PSH apartment. The Arlington County PSH program worked with him for over a year to find him an apartment. As he has a long substance abuse history which resulted in frequent incarcerations, his greatest challenge was that he was either in jail or missing when apartments became available. Finally, in October 2018, he moved into his own PSH apartment, and he has had a great first year! He works closely with his clinical case manager and housing specialist on his housing goals. He pays his rent on time, keeps his apartment clean, has reduced his drinking and has significantly reduced his arrests. He attends AA meetings and has made friends in his apartment community. We are excited to see what James’ second year in housing will bring.
James and Kim arrived at the Family Home with their three children ages six, two and eight months. The family lived chaotically before placement at a motel by OAR. James had spent several years in prison and was now employed full time at a local restaurant as a cook, while Kim was working part-time at another restaurant as a hostess. Kim was diagnosed with multiple mental health issues, had thoughts of harming herself and was admitted to the hospital. James became overwhelmed with caring for the children and working full time, causing him to think about quitting his job. Thankfully, Doorways worked with James to identify natural supports that could provide childcare. After one week, Kim was able to return to her family and was referred to BHD for therapy and medication management. Kim did not feel she was able to work due to her mental health concerns and applied for disability benefits with the assistance of Doorways staff. To prepare for James to be the sole financial provider for the family, they began working with a Financial Counselor to develop a budget. After three months in the program, the family was accepted into the Doorways HomeStart program and were hopeful to move into an apartment, but James’ criminal history caused the application to be denied. However, the Doorways Housing Locator filed an appeal for the family through the Arlington Landlord Partnership, and the family successfully moved into their apartment two weeks after the initial denial.
Mr. Charles experienced homelessness for nine years in a row before the day he entered Susan’s Place in April 2015. Since having a safe place to stay, he has learned to take better care of himself and maintain his independence – something few thought possible when he first experienced homelessness at the age of 19. Mr. Charles was born in Alexandria, and he has a history of mental illness which worsened after years on the street. Starting at age 19, he stayed occasionally at the A-SPAN winter shelter, with friends, or in encampments. He was referred to Susan’s Place by A-SPAN and accepted a room when it became open on April 21, 2015. In the past four years, he kept his medical appointments, followed advice of counselors, received his social security benefits, and began paying his bills on time. He kept his room clean and began cooking for himself. Over time, he began communicating more with the other residents at Susan’s Place and socialized more. March 14, 2019 was an exciting day as Mr. Charles moved from Susan’s Place to a supportive apartment that’s part of our Just Home program! He has continued to make progress, maintains his health, and checks in with his counselors. He’s so thankful to have a safe place to call home and is doing everything he can to avoid becoming homeless again.
Mrs. DH is a 57-year-old undocumented Asian woman and Arlington County Resident. Mrs. DH was referred to the Residential Program Center’s (RPC) Rapid Re-Housing program via Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN) Rapid Re-Housing program. Though Mrs. DH has family and friends in the Shangdong Province of China, she unfortunately doesn’t have family locally. Mrs. DH, entered RPC RRH after a long history of homelessness starting as far back as 2016. She showed interest in art, displaying and creating pieces of art for RPC staff. It’s safe to say that each staff person at the RPC has at least one piece of art from Mrs. DH. During the first few months, staff worked with Mrs. DH to complete referral to AFAC, opening a bank account and furnishing her home.
Although Mrs. DH has been faced with medical challenges, she entered the Rapid Re-Housing Program with optimism. Close to Christmas 2018, our RRH Case Manager brought her a Christmas tree and all the decorations. Mrs. DH was so excited, saying, “Oh, my dreams have come true. I have my apartment and now a real American Christmas.” She then pulled out a painting she made by hand – a table runner with images of Christmas. She said she painted the images because she never imagined that she could be so fortunate. Since coming to the United States three years ago she has continued to study and work on her art, often inspired by her experiences of homelessness.