Raven: 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 went horribly wrong. I lost my job. I couldn’t stay at my friend’s 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 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.

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 and nonprofit staff 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?