When Rachael determined that staying in her home was a matter of life and death, she had nowhere to go.
Though she had endured years of abuse at the hands of her husband, his behaviors were escalating, and she just knew in her gut that this time, he could be capable of taking her life. Rachael knew that her husband would snap if he even vaguely sensed that she wanted to leave. Rachael found a lifeline with Doorways, where she worked with hotline staff to develop a safety plan to escape her husband. On a fateful morning, while her husband was at work, Rachael and her children escaped the fear of their home and entered safety through Doorways’ Safehouse.
At first, Rachael had challenges adjusting at the Safehouse. She often found herself reliving terrifying memories of her relationship with her husband, making it hard to focus on even simple tasks. Rachael’s financial situation only heightened her anxieties. She already had debt, and not long after she entered shelter, her husband defaulted on a personal loan on which she had cosigned. Rachael felt trapped, and she had no idea how she could afford a home for her family on her own.
Rachael felt trapped, and she had no idea how she could afford a home for her family on her own.
Doorways’ staff gave Rachael the gentle support she needed to work through her trauma. After a few months in shelter, she was able to gather enough energy to fully focus on her goals. Rachael eventually moved into her own apartment with her family through Doorways’ HomeStart Supportive Housing Program. With the HomeStart rental subsidy, Rachael had the financial room she needed to address her debts and get closer to realistically affording an apartment on her own. With the support of her Financial Independence Track (FIT) Counselor, Rachael developed a plan to use her tax refund to pay down a majority of her debts. Rachael was ecstatic to show her FIT Counselor how many payments she was able to cross off from her monthly budget. As Rachael encountered challenges, she would often go back to this budget to reflect on how it was possible to achieve goals, even when it once seemed impossible.
…it was possible to achieve goals, even when it once seemed impossible.
Rachael’s growth did not stop there. She helped her children establish safety and wellbeing after the trauma they experienced, secured a much-desired divorce from her husband, and obtained her dream job within a government agency. Rachael transitioned from shelter into HomeStart ready and excited for what is to come for her and her family.
Doorways and our generous community of supporters gave Rachael the safety, confidence, and strength she needed to not only survive, but thrive.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse in our community, call Doorways’ 24-hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline at 703-237-0881 for information and support. Please call 911 if you are experiencing a life-threatening situation. Not in Arlington? Please see alternative resources here.