A Place of Her Own

Lavone was tired of living in a public shelter. She had to share space with other women and do everything—eat, shower, sleep—when somebody told her. She had no privacy and her personal property was not respected. But she was there because she had no other choice.

Living in a shelter was a huge change for Lavone. For 25 years she had her own place in Southeast Washington. She worked as an administrative and medical assistant. When her husband died in 2007 and she couldn’t find another position in her field, she could no longer afford rent. She was soon evicted and was homeless for the first time in her life.

Erna’s House, N Street Village’s newest permanent supportive housing program for formerly homeless women, was just what Lavone needed. In April 2012, after being without her own place for more than five years, she moved into a one-bedroom apartment at Erna’s House. Now after working a full day with D.C. Public Schools in food preparation, Lavone comes home to her own place where she can relax, rest, and cook for herself.

Dave and LavoneAs a resident of N Street Village, she attends Job Keepers meetings to meet and network with other working women. She is also working with Dave Wasserman, an N Street Village volunteer, to develop a budget so that she can save more of her hard-earned paycheck.  She hopes to be able to save enough money to buy a car and house of her own.

Thanks to her hard work and the support of N Street Village, Lavone is happy and stable again. After experiencing so much adversity, she is planning for a bright future.

By Shane Yost, Manager of Individual Giving – story originally published in N Street Village’s Village Voice newsletter.