Testimony: Graduated Housing Partner 2020

Dealing with unexpected job, financial and housing issues is a “multiple stress” cauldron.

When one of my jobs, which provided safe quality housing as well as emotional wellbeing, (since I was in a facilitating role for others), ended abruptly, I was in shock.  Fortunately, I was a member of a Church which was connected to an outreach and support ministry: Tree of Life, (TOL).

The application process was simple and the people were gracious.  But it was such a stressful time, to find oneself priced out of the housing market even with a decent job, was frightening.  I had been apartment hunting in this county for over a year when I got the job that provided housing.  I had moved from Maryland, where I had lived in a 3 bedroom townhouse until my landlord decided to sell, so all my furniture and study and research resources were in storage! My ex-employer helped with paperwork and filing for TOL.

Downsizing and moving again, with only 3 weeks’ notice is difficult but I was grateful for the encouragement and support that TOL provided, in moving me into the temporary subsidized housing.  The Purcellville area is so beautiful and the accommodations more than adequate. But what really made the difference was the people.  We met weekly, learned new skills and made new friends.  The Bible Studies were varied and pointed us repeatedly to the goodness of God and the grace of His people.  The resources for developing and keeping on a budget, finding good health care and learning the power of being accountable to a friendly and informed mentor were invaluable.

With my special dietary needs, access to the food pantry was a true blessing.  The team always worked with me to get the whole food, plant based options and prayed with me at every delivery!  I really felt special, even though I knew that they treated everyone else as generously!  And there was fun too!  The Line Dancing class, the Yoga sessions, the birthday parties and the celebrations of new jobs!  Finally it was the graduation party. TOL had encouraged and supported me when I dealt with the shock of having to find housing suddenly.  They had given me the tools to help me continue working, and search for safe and affordable housing. Then they celebrated me when I signed my lease and moved to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

Life has so many ups and downs.  Tree of Life, their Staff and their Volunteers were steady and kind during the difficult time.  They helped me and continued to remind me that God can make a way as we trust and serve Him. – Graduated Housing Partner, 2020