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Cornerstones saw an increase of more than 600 percent in the number of first-time households seeking assistance last year. Sara is one of the many people who have been positively impacted by their programs.

Cornerstones has provided food, immediate shelter, affordable housing, quality childcare, and other human services to northern Virginians since 1970. With the region being one of the most expensive housing markets in the country, Cornerstones works to provide affordable housing for those in need. This includes a 180-unit building in Loudoun County and a 30-unit building for special needs residents in Fairfax County. In addition to housing assistance, Cornerstones offers case managers that help identify and provide other forms of support.

Financial support from the Maximus Foundation propelled Cornerstone’s goal of moving individuals and families from its community shelter into permanent housing. Cornerstones strengthened its ability to leverage existing resources, sustain essential safety net services, and implement critical changes to its service solutions as it pursued its core mission of helping individuals and families in Fairfax County obtain and maintain stability.

Sara’s Cornerstones success story:

Sara and her parents immigrated to the U.S. from Ethiopia when she was 15 years old. Aside from the general challenges of starting over and adjusting to life in a new country, Sara’s dad became ill soon after they arrived. With his health and mobility deteriorating, Sara and her family faced the additional challenges of caring for him while restarting their lives. She recalled that time as “being very tough for us and seemed like we had no hope.”

Five years later, Sara and her parents were evicted from their homes and found themselves at Cornerstone’s Embry Rucker Community Shelter. The shelter proved a challenging place for her family, due to the medical attention her father needed and his weakening mobility. They were eventually able to receive support from Cornerstones and its Fairfax County housing programming to move into their own apartment. Sara recalled that day as “the happiest moment.” She remarked, “I couldn’t believe it. I looked up every moment and thought, ‘Oh my goodness, this is ours?’”

Cornerstones helped Sara’s father receive the medical assistance and support he needed to live comfortably. All his medical expenses were covered. With gratitude for their new home, Sara said, “Now every time we see someone who doesn’t have a house, we feel that pain; so, in the future, I want to pay back.”

Learn more about the Cornerstones Affordable Housing program.