For many people in our community, the journey to self-sufficiency is a difficult one; even when one crisis has been surmounted there are often not enough resources available to manage the next one that inevitably comes around the corner. And so life becomes a constant struggle to stay afloat in the present, without any thought to the future; without any hope for a better tomorrow.
But then hope sometimes comes around the corner. And in the case of Mary, that hope came when she first connected with Cornerstones after finding herself, and her young daughter, homeless and in the Embry Rucker Community Shelter.
Mary, a full-time employee at a local supermarket, was not able to afford her own place on the salary she earned. Without any support from her daughter’s father, whom Mary had to leave, she and her daughter were only able to rent a room in a house in Reston. Unfortunately, a necessary surgery left Mary temporarily unemployed and soon evicted by the landlord. She had nowhere to go but the Cornerstones’ shelter.
Mary’s case manager immediately set out to find Mary and her daughter a place to live. At first they were moved into temporary housing and Mary was able to start working again. Two years later, Mary was offered the opportunity to enter “HOUSE”, Cornerstones’ permanent housing program which enabled her to rent at a reduced rate. During that time Mary enrolled in Training Futures, a program offered by Northern Virginia Family Services to help build her skills to participate at a higher level in the workforce. Through this program, Mary got an internship at a local business and she made such an impression she was offered a six-month contract. Managing to keep both her full-time job at the supermarket and the contractual work, Mary was able to start saving one paycheck each month…an amazing achievement for a woman who was barely able to save a penny before.
Ready to consider moving on from the Cornerstones’ housing program, Mary joined the First-time Home Buyers’ Program, opened a Trust Account with Cornerstones, and then joined Cornerstones’ Financial Literacy program last October to help her develop better budget management skills under the care of a Cornerstones’ volunteer mentor.
Well, after a long and difficult journey toward self-sufficiency, marked by great determination and a sense of hope, Mary and her daughter will be moving into their very own place next month.
“Cornerstones is a light in the dark; they gave me hope when I was struggling. I appreciate Cornerstones for working hard to assist me in the direction of my dreams to achieve becoming a homeowner, to live the life like I imagined.” Mary, April 2015