“I was at a very low point in my life. I had so many things – life stressors – that were piling up. I had a low-paying job with 2 boys who were dependent on me to take care of them. My case manager was awesome – she helped me accomplish my goals. I was able to secure 2 jobs and find a place of my own” – Janet L.
“[Staying at Good Shepherd] I was able to accomplish saving money and focusing on my goals. The Good Shepherd Alliance has helped me stay positive about my situation. I was able to go to my job with a sense of relief that I had a place to live and not in the car or at a hotel. I was able to change my whole outcome and view on life and be closer with God. I am forever grateful of the opportunity to live at the shelter and the support I received from my case manager.” – Evelyn W.
“I had a wonderful experience at The Good Shepherd Alliance transitional home. I was able to clean up my credit report and save money with the escrow account. I met nice people in my roommates – very lovely ladies. There was a very pleasant view sitting on the front porch and I will miss it. My case manager was the best – she helped me so much and I will always cherish my stay” – Sarah M.
“The Good Shepherd Alliance is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I have been hired as an Assistant Director was a local school, bought my first car, and moved into an apartment of my own. When I moved into the shelter, I had nothing and felt hopeless. Those were the darkest days of my life. Two years later and this is the happiest I have ever been. It wasn’t easy but now I am on my own two feet and am able to support myself and my children.” – Karen J.
Marissa’s foreclosure eventually left her with nowhere else to turn and nowhere to sleep at night. As a professional who lost her employment to corporate cutbacks, her inability to find similar employment eventually led to home foreclosure. After trying to hang onto her home as long as possible – she simply needed to start over. Finding a rental with bad credit and a foreclosure is difficult, not to mention the cost of housing in Loudoun. With no family to help, no savings left, and no options, we were her safety net.
Marissa stayed with us about 60 days. With tears in her eyes she told me, “I don’t know what I would have done without the Good Shepherd Alliance. My case manager was so wonderful and sweet. She tried so hard to make everything go smoothly for me. Everyone was so kind. I was able to find a new job and now I’m moving to my new apartment … You gave me gas gift cards when I needed them. (Tears began to flow.) I am just so thankful! And all in less than 60 days – even though I could have stayed longer. “I reminded her that she had to work very hard in those 60 days.
Because we are interested in a person being successful for the long term (we do not want to see them back at our door homeless again), we have various programs to meet the specific needs of individuals and families. In each case, we work intensively with our resident, through our Six-Steps to Self-Sufficiency program, to help them achieve long-term stability.
Out of options. Finally at a place where there was no – other – outlet, I had to muster up what little hope and faith I had to even entertain the thought that God would help me after all the poor decisions I had made. Would He really create a way out of no way? For me? For us? Now? I had exhausted all opportunities to find shelter (for however long) in the homes of people I somewhat knew or had been introduced to. It would have been hard enough to experience this solo, but sadly my toddler was along for the ride too.
In spite of my situation, I held strong to certain values and ideas of how I wanted to raise my child. I searched high and low for a shelter – I had to find a place within a week or so. I longed for a place of safety and refuge, a place where I could finally exhale a little bit more, a place that would lift me up and not just hand things out and leave me to figure things out on my own again, a place that would serve as a sense of community I longed for, a place that had a “homey” feel. Good Shepherd Alliance was that and more. When they explained their Six Steps to Self-Sufficiency Program, I knew this was the right route for us. I had a sense of purpose – something I could work toward and accomplish given the tight deadline of 89 days to secure employment, manage finances and secure our next place to live. It was beyond challenging living in a house with other families also struggling in their own ways.
Long story short, with the enablement of God, focused mindset, support and encouragement from my case manager and GSA team, I got a job, secured childcare, tithed to God first faithfully, began saving, applied to the ADU apartment rental program and by the 89th day, I signed the lease to my first apartment and moved into our home shortly after. To date, I give God glory for the miracles, wonders and signs that have occurred in our lives. I was able to renew my lease and in that process, acquired a better job that disqualifies us for all assistance. While this testimony is ending on a happy note, know that there are countless tears, fears, and disappointments that weren’t captured here.
Wherever you are in your life at this moment, I appreciate how far you have come and I challenge you to never stop reaching for better – better expectations, better wholeness, better mental health, better relationships, better sleep, better legacy…whatever it is, no matter how difficult an area is in your life, keep the flame of hope burning for better.