Home Is Where the Heart Is

Apr 5, 2018

At GSH, we see many residents first come to us without any hope. They have lost their housing for any number of reasons. We then give them hope, starting with an affordable housing unit.

We also step in with case management support, referrals (employment, work vehicles, affordable heathcare) and support for their children in their schools (our Children’s Resources Program).

With all that, more than 80 percent of them will eventually reach housing stability and become more sufficient and resilient.

They will stabilize their housing with GSH (i.e., as successful residents in our permanent housing) or in housing elsewhere in the community. A number will even purchase a home for themselves and move beyond renting their housing.

In August 2013, Wayne and Patricia Cooley came to GSH after a flood ruined their rental unit and made it unfit for habitation. Together with their young granddaughter, they settled into one of our Pembrooke Village units. Once housed in our unit, the Cooleys began to work on themselves, build their resiliency, and grow their financial resources.

With the financial assistance of GSH, Patricia Cooley completed her medical office administration certificate in 2017 from the Continuing Education Office of the Fairfax County Public Schools. A long-time employee of Georgetown University Medstar Hospital, Patricia was now well positioned to advance in her work as a residential monitor. In no time she was earning more income. Throughout their time with us, her husband Wayne continued his work as a mover.

In the meantime, their granddaughter benefited from a reading class paid for by GSH. Also, seeing the needs in her community, Patricia decided to become a Neighborhood Ambassador with the Opportunity Neighborhood (ON) Mount Vernon coalition. Volunteering with ON, Patricia felt the value of helping to make her neighborhood safer and more supportive of its residents.

She wanted to give back — and pay forward — some of what had been given to her and her family. It all ends in a good and prosperous place.

This week the family gave their written move-out notice to GSH. At the end of May, they will be moving into their newly purchased home in Fredericksburg. As Wayne and Patricia noted in their letter to us: “We proudly and humbly purchased a new home…”

​Theirs is the kind of story and success that makes our work worth it.​