Sam’s Story

Sam* and her emotional support dog entered Doorways’ Safehouse after fleeing domestic abuse. Sam was unemployed and facing mental health and financial challenges that were affecting her ability to function and complete day-to-day tasks.

Sam applied for an apartment of her own with Doorways’ HomeStart Supportive Housing Program. HomeStart utilizes the best practice of Housing First to move survivors from shelter to housing as quickly as possible while supporting clients before, during, and after the transition with wraparound support services. Sam was quickly approved to move into her new home.

Sam’s HomeStart Client Services Counselor (CSC) met with Sam weekly. Sam was very stressed about her unpaid debt and lack of employment. The stress was impacting her mental health. Sam informed her CSC this was her first time navigating expenses on her own and she felt very nervous. She and her CSC worked together to create a goal plan specifically targeted to Sam’s needs in order to address her financial, mental health, and employment barriers to safety and stability. Sam’s first goal was to review all of her expenses and bills and make a list. Sam and her CSC then had monthly budget meetings to review the past month’s expenses and to forecast the months ahead. Sam’s second goal was to address her debts. She contacted all the agencies she owed to confirm the amount of debt, and she actively worked to pay down debts. This relieved some of Sam’s stressors and the anxiety she was feeling and boosted her self-esteem and confidence.

Sam’s third goal was to get a job. She actively searched for employment and was able to secure a part-time job after two months in the program. She made diligent efforts to increase her employment hours and was hired full-time. She was connected to and actively engaged with Arlington County’s behavioral health department to support her mental health and wellbeing. Sam meets with her therapist weekly and her psychiatrist monthly. Doorways’ CSC was very proud of Sam for her progress and began to prepare her for transition to the Arlington County Housing Grant. After eight months in the HomeStart program, Sam successfully graduated, transitioning to the Housing Grant for continued support with rental expenses. Sam was excited to have her independence and a safe place to call home.

*To protect client safety and confidentiality, client names and identifying information are changed, and images used are stock photos, featuring models, for illustrative purposes only.

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