By Anne Miller
Alexandria, VA- Finding affordable housing is hard enough, but the challenge increases exponentially when you have a child who needs a wheelchair-accessible space and access. Heather and her family were overjoyed when they were approved for a housing choice voucher to move into a home with wheelchair access for her 11-year-old daughter with disabilities.
However, the move came with a new challenge: moving expenses. Despite being able to afford the rent, Heather’s fixed income meant she could not cover the security deposit and prorated first month’s rent.
For over 40 years, Good Shepherd Housing has served the housing needs of Northern Virginia families and individuals. Sometimes that means buying housing and moving people in. Sometimes, GSH supports families and individuals through grants and caseworker support.
GSH offered Heather and her family $3,000 to cover the moving costs that threatened to break her budget. The money allowed Heather and her family to settle comfortably and safely into their new home.
Heather’s family is just one of more than 500 families and individuals GSH helps annually. Of that, 83% of those supported are families with children. GSH is a recognized 501(c)3 with a $3.0 million annual budget and $14.7 million in assets, including 100+ housing units overseen by a 19-member board of directors. The organization has eight full-time staff, four part-time staff, and more than 40 volunteers.
Since the start of the pandemic, GSH has distributed over $5 million in rental relief and utility assistance. But it’s not enough. By one estimate, Northern Virginia needs 66,000 more housing units to address the area’s housing insecurity.
This spring, GSH is wrapping up its most extensive fundraising campaign to date. The Campaign for Colchester, launched in 2018, has purchased 30 units in Colchester, thanks partly to a historic $2 million gift by Amazon Housing Equity Fund. By 2024, GSH is projected to own 99 units in total.
To cover expenses related to the expansion of the housing inventory, GSH aims to raise a total of $3.5 million – $400,000 above what has already been raised. The campaign closes on June 30, 2023.
To learn more or contribute to the campaign, go to goodhousing.org/campaign-for-colchester.