From Homelessness to Home

Mr. James Ford is any army veteran who was born and raised in Arlington, Virginia. He’s a morning person—an early riser—and works as a contractor on moving jobs and home improvement. He’s a Florida Gators fan. He loves pork chops. His smile lights up a room. And until late last year, he was homeless.

We recently spent a day with Mr. Ford at his new apartment, which he moved into in October 2015. We sat on a leather sofa in his living room talking about his life—his childhood, his siblings and mom, his experience in high school, his stint in the army, how he became homeless and, finally, how he got a home.

Mr. Ford’s is just one of countless stories of resilience, determination and hope—stories of people moving from homelessness to homes in Arlington, and the organization that helps them get there: the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN).

We know what you’re thinking: Arlington is one of the richest counties in the United States! This is true, but it’s also true that many of its residents are in need. There are still more than 200 Arlingtonians on the streets, and A-SPAN is working to get them into homes.

They’ve done an amazing job: Arlington currently has 239 homeless individuals, down from almost 700 more than five years ago.

We were honored to help A-SPAN tell their story for their annual Coming Home fundraising breakfast. To help the audience understand A-SPAN’s impact, we went straight to someone who demonstrates it. And that brings us back to Mr. Ford.

Check out the piece below to meet Mr. Ford and learn how A-SPAN is ending homelessness in Arlington.