Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Patricia Philip arrived in the U.S. in 1977 with her father, who came to work as a physician in D.C. She settled into an American life, eventually getting married and starting a family. She became a home health aide and has worked with the same agency, Ideal Nursing Services, for 31 years.
But her life changed forever when her son was murdered. “It happened 19 years ago but it feels like nine days ago,” she says. “If you lose a child, you have to learn to adjust to a new life and learn to honor the loved one’s life by doing good deeds.”
Over the years, Patricia has suffered many losses including the end of her marriage and her home to foreclosure. In addition, she lives with a permanent physical injury to her neck after a teenage driver slammed into the taxi she was a passenger in.
For 11 years, Patricia moved from one family member’s home to another. “It was difficult,” she says. “My health started going down. My blood pressure was going up. I felt like giving up. I started asking myself, ‘What will the end be’?”
She was relieved to get connected to N Street Village’s Step-Up rapid rehousing program, a one-year subsidized rental program that helps individuals get back on their financial feet and move toward self-sufficiency. “I needed someone to help me. A place to call my own. As a working senior citizen, I still need someone to help me navigate the housing system.”
“What makes Ms. Pat so special is that she often volunteers to help people who are in need of cleaning services,” says Pamela Wells, Step-Up Program Coordinator. “Through her work she often hears of others who have been unexpectedly hospitalized for extended periods or have had long stays in rehabilitation. She volunteers to refresh and clean their homes, so they return to a clean and organized dwelling. It’s her way of paying it forward.”
“This award tells me there is something bigger out there for me,” Patricia says. “My goal is to give back. Just as N Street has given to me, I want to give back to people in need.”