Success Story

Eviction Prevention and a New Community

Every Friday, you can find the FACETS Eviction Prevention team at the courthouse. One morning, Emily, a FACETS’ Eviction Prevention Advocate, could not find her usual sign offering assistance, so she grabbed a piece of paper and simply wrote “Rental Assistance,” hoping that anyone who needed help would see it. That was how she met 34-year old Sophia, a young mother who had moved to Fairfax with her husband. The couple and their four young children had been living in a one-bedroom apartment. She was pregnant with their fifth child when her husband abandoned them. She had no family, friends, or any semblance of community in this country. The little family she had made here was like an island—now suddenly deserted.

Sophia had been working part-time at a local restaurant but lost her job during the pandemic. She was unable to work throughout her pregnancy and immediately following the birth of her new baby. She had gotten dangerously behind on rent and was issued an eviction notice. So Emily began working with Sophia right away to walk her through the process of applying for rental assistance. In order to receive assistance in paying arrears, she had to demonstrate that she could be accountable for the remaining money owed. As soon as she could get back to work, she found a full-time position as a housekeeper and secured an additional part-time server position to help make up for the months in rent that she had missed. Just five days before she and her children were due to be kicked out of their home, her application for financial assistance was approved and the eviction was stopped.

Now, Sophia is working hard to keep her home. She built a support network in her neighborhood that she can rely on to help with her children while she works two jobs to support them. FACETS’ help in meeting basic needs, including food and diapers, and the Eviction Prevention Team’s support in navigating the legal system and financial assistance services was exactly what she needed to get back on her feet. Now, Sophia knows who she can turn to for help—and knows she is strong enough to ask for it.

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