According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, homelessness in Virginia declined by more than more than 30 percent since 2010.
New Hope Housing, a homeless shelter in Northern Virginia, is just one of many shelters in the state helping to reduce those numbers.
“I want to make it clear to everyone that homeless is an adjective. It is not a noun. We are very precise. Never refer to the homeless. It is something that people go through. We have seen children, adults and families,” said Jan Sacharko, Director of Development, New Hope Housing.
Jeff Lisanick knows the situation all too well. He said many people are surprised at his own personal story.
“Actually, I used to be homeless in the very same Kennedy shelter that I now work. So, I was a success story back in 2009. I was able to get out of homelessness. It really opened my eyes and gave me a desire to want to end homelessness in the belief that everyone deserves a safe place to live and a roof over their heads,” said Lisanick, current Lord Fairfax.
Now, officials said the shelter is serving chronically homeless adults in a 20-unit apartment building.
The Director of Development said the best feeling for both staff and residents is when an individual gets to hold the key to their own house.
“If we look at some of these photos, these are some of the moments where people went from being homeless to housed. If we can capture a moment where someone goes from homeless to housed in one second, then what is the difference between someone who is homeless and your neighbor,” said Sacharko.