I can safely say I’ve become a seasoned veteran at Good Shepherd! Although I joined GSH just a little over 3 weeks ago, I have met a number of our clients. It has been a rewarding and eye-opening experience. Many are people who have experienced catastrophic events – job loss, chronic health problems, or the death of a family breadwinner. As a result of these or other difficult events, many of these people have witnessed the same outcome, the loss of steady income and housing. If nothing else, I learned from my work here at GSH that the precariousness of life is real.
I thought about one person whom GSH helped. An MBA degree holder, she was an Army veteran injured in the first Iraqi war, the Desert Storm campaign. After the war, she developed many health issues, including several related to her vision, and was soon unable to hold down a job. So a difficult spiral followed, where she had mounting medical bills and falling income. It is a story sadly repeated time and again. Nearly ten percent of all Virginians, some 739,000 people, live below the federal poverty line. That number measures the size of the problem. At the same time, this number never really tells you how they got there in the first place.