Faces of Loudoun: The Family Car Should Not Be the Family Home

I was so excited when I decided to move to Virginia. I had fallen in love with the area—the schools, the weather, the opportunities, and the people. So, I packed up my two kids and moved from my hometown in Georgia to Loudoun County, where I had friends who were willing to put me up while I looked for a job.

A few months later, everything had gone horribly wrong. I lost my job. I couldn’t stay at the house because I didn’t want my young kids exposed to a deeply negative domestic environment. We found ourselves sleeping in my car, relying on food stamps to eat, and using public restrooms to get ready for the day. I felt like such a failure.

No family in Loudoun should have to face that kind of despair.

I thought about returning to my mom’s home in Georgia, but my son—who is learning disabled—was doing well at his new school. So, I dug in and began researching my options. I talked to people at my church and contacted family services. I applied for assistance and looked into local nonprofits. A shelter eventually took us in.

The Next Chapter

On the day before Thanksgiving—45 days after I became homeless—I was able to move into a subsidized motel room. My kids and I shared one small bed in a very small room, but it was a step forward.

Day by day, things continued to improve. A kind woman not only donated her car but also took the time to teach me how to drive a stick. I went to class to learn a new skill and then I found a job—and then a second one. An older woman I had befriended at the shelter agreed to rent a townhouse with me so we could all afford a place to live in Loudoun.

As part of the Community Foundation of Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties’ Faces of Loudoun campaign, Raven, a Loudoun County resident, shares her journey with homelessness.
[Courtesy of AlphaGraphics ]
       I am a very different person today. I learned to rely on myself and to stay positive. And I figured out what is really important to me in life—my family and my faith. My children, too, have learned hard life lessons. I am proud to say that we are stronger as a family and as individuals.

I am very grateful to all the people who helped us when we needed it most. I hope that, together, we can all make it easier for other families to find the resources they need to make a fresh start. I want to be a part of the effort to End the Need in Loudoun County. Won’t you join me?

Over the next several months, as part of the Community Foundation’s Faces of Loudoun campaign, Loudoun Now will run monthly articles highlighting men, women and children who have found a helping hand when they needed it most. Learn more or donate to help End the Need at FacesofLoudoun.org.

Leave a Reply