David Vernon recently moved into the FACETS TRIUMPH II Housing program, which houses individuals who were previously chronically homeless. In this picture, Elsbeth Hoff of the Gracing Spaces program greets Vernon with a donation basket at the housewarming celebration welcoming 18 previously homeless clients into their homes.
Photo by Janelle Germanos.
As part of the 100,000 Homes Campaign, FACETS welcomed 18 previously chronically homeless individuals into housing on March 18 at a housewarming celebration.
“These are the days that I love, love, love my job because we get to celebrate welcoming home 18 people who have been homeless for many years and finally have housing. We are so excited about that,” said Amanda Andere, the executive director of FACETS.
100,000 Homes is a national movement to house 100,000 chronically homeless individuals. Last year during the 100,000 Homes Fairfax Registry Week, FACETS joined several other organizations in going out into the community and interviewing homeless people.
“I’m so proud today to say a year later, we didn’t just go out and talk to people and create a registry list, we created a plan, we took action. We had a goal of housing 50 of our most vulnerable in our community. With our partners in the room today, we housed 45 people,” Andere said.
The 18 previously homeless individuals moved into housing this month by FACETS are now part of TRIUMPH II Housing, funded by a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant.
Organizations such as Gracing Spaces have helped to furnish apartments that are part of TRIUMPH II Housing.
“It just helps them get a first leg-up and a fresh start,” said Kathie Baumgart, director of Gracing Spaces.
Andere said that while programs like shelters are important, the community needs to focus on providing permanent housing for those who are homeless.
“If we want to make change in our community, we have to figure out how we are going to end homelessness and that is through moving people into housing,” she said.
Sandara Perry, 29, a FACETS client who just moved into TRIUMPH II housing, shared her story at the housewarming event.
Perry, who grew up in the Mount Vernon area, says her family had alcohol addictions, which led to Perry entering the foster care system.
“I pretty much had to find my own way. I am a product of an addict,” Perry said.
Although she has faced homelessness and used to sleep in the woods, Perry said she is making the best of her situation.
“Without the people in FACETS and the other organizations that are helping these people, honestly I wouldn’t be standing here right now,” she said. “People do appreciate everything you guys are doing. I’m very grateful.”
Perry welcomed attendees of the housewarming event into her apartment, which was decorated and put together thanks to Gracing Spaces.
David Vernon also opened his new apartment up to visitors.
“I really like it here,” Vernon said.
Andere said FACETS is growing and moving in the right direction.
“Five years ago when I started at FACETS, we had just spent a year moving nine people into housing. And then we moved in 10. Just this last month, we moved in 18,” she said.
Of the almost 2,900 homeless people in Fairfax County, 14 percent are chronically homeless. As the 100,000 Homes Campaign moves forward, organizations like FACETS are working to house these chronically homeless individuals.