Full Circle

Full Circle

Shanelle Gayden was pregnant and evicted.  She moved into her mother’s home with her young sons.  She felt defeated.  As if being evicted wasn’t horrible enough, she was struck with grief when her father passed away.  

Please help us- become a part of "The Village" today!

Please help us- become a part of "The Village" today!

It’s that time of year when our mailboxes are filled with festive cards and letters from family, friends and neighbors. At BARN Community Housing, our families, especially the children, are getting excited for the holidays. Instead of worrying about where they will sleep tonight or if they will have food to eat, they are decorating their doorways with garlands and lights and having fun together, perhaps for the first time in a long time. 

Living in a Backyard

Being homeless can look different from family to family.  In Prince William County, Virginia, an episode of homelessness is often living on the street, sleeping in the woods behind local stores or for Emma and her teen daughter, Hailey,  [names were changed to protect their privacy] they were living in the backyard of a vacant home.  That all changed when they were referred to BARN. 

 At BARN, we were given our own room that was clean and safe,” she said. “We didn’t have to sleep with one eye open and scared.
— Emma, BARN Community Housing Resident

When Hailey and Emma arrived at BARN they didn't know what to expect.  They had been surviving alone outside and were nervous about trusting others after what they had been through.

Then Fadumo said we’re going to go to your room. She opened the door and it was so Beautiful. I thought it was going to be this [soiled] shelter and then she took me to our room and it was beautiful. It was clean and safe. There was space to dance. With a beautiful view out the window. It’s so peaceful. We didn’t have to share one bed like in a hotel or sleep in the grass. We had our own bathroom and it was stocked with everything we needed. They gave us quarters for laundry. They gave me a gift card so I could buy food for me and my daughter.

The family received clothing, food, toiletries, cleaning supplies (e.g., laundry detergent), new bedding and new towels.  Their room was cleaned in preparation for their arrival and views of the beautiful yard and forest were seen from their new windows.

Working with BARN’s case management team, Emma quickly found a job, enrolled Hailey in school, and received a donated car as well as financial assistance and counseling to help the family stabilize. “Now I have a budget and I’m working to clear up some old debts and saving money,” she said.


Recently Emma shared the news that Hailey was accepted to a local university after working with BARN’s volunteer tutors to prepare for the SAT exam. 

“I thought our life changed when we got to BARN but it continues to get better and better.”
— Emma, BARN Community Housing

Blog by Bond Cavazos & Denice Jobe

What is Rapid Re-Housing?

By: Bond Cavazos

Being new to the Housing and Shelter community I have often heard the term "Rapid Re-Housing."   Maybe you're like me and wanted to know more about it.

BARN Community Housing provides this service in order to provide to families and individuals in our community.  We receive phone calls, everyday, from families looking for shelter.  We are currently full with 12 families living at BARN.  When we do have an opening it is filled almost instantly.  Rapid Re-Housing provides us with another way to extend a helping hand to families facing homelessness.  What is Rapid Re-Housing?

According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness,

“Rapid re-housing is an intervention designed to help individuals and families quickly exit homelessness and return to permanent housing. Rapid re-housing assistance is offered without preconditions — like employment, income, absence of criminal record, or sobriety — and the resources and services provided are tailored to the unique needs of the household.”

When families have experienced an eviction, have a poor credit history, arrears and legal issues landlords will not see that family as a desirable candidate for their property.  This leaves the family to find another option.  If they are fortunate they may have a support system such as family and friends, but more often than not- they don't.  This is unfortunately one of the paths that leads to homelessness.

The government and local shelters recruit local landlords to accept families and individuals who would otherwise not be accepted with the Rapid Re-Housing program.  The program provides financial assistance for moving costs, deposits and utility assistance so that families are able to provide a shelter for their family while they work towards financial stability.

The overall goal of Rapid Re-Housing is to-

“Provide or assist the household with connections to resources that help them improve their safety and well-being and achieve their long-term goals. This includes providing or ensuring that the household has access to resources related to benefits, employment, and community-based services (if needed and appropriate), so that they can sustain rent payments independently when rental assistance ends.”
— United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

Thank you for supporting BARN Community Housing.   If you would like more information please send an email to: fahmed@barninc.org



BARN Community Housing Announces New Executive Director By: Krista Meeks

BARN Community Housing Announces Oliver T. Reid as New Executive Director

Bristow, VA – The Board of Directors of Community Housing BARN has named Oliver T. Reid as the executive director to lead the organization, effective May 12, 2017. BARN provides supportive housing programs and case management to homeless families in Northern Virginia.

Mr. Reid brings more than 20 years of social service and leadership experience to BARN, most recently as Senior Director/Chief Program Officer for the cities of Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax, at New Hope Housing, Inc.

“I started as a case manager right out of college working with families experiencing homelessness,” Mr. Reid said. “BARN offers the best of both worlds, a rapid-rehousing program and a community housing option that gives the case management team the flexibility to meet each family’s individual needs. I’m looking forward to helping these families get back on their feet, starting with stable housing.”

BARN assists families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless with case management and housing through its Rapid-Rehousing program and its Community Living program, which is housed at BARN’s 12-room facility. While at BARN, families have access to family counseling, job coaching, an onsite food pantry, and donated clothing. Aided by over 100 volunteers, BARN also provides life-skills classes, academic and recreational activities for children, and other client services.

“Losing their home is one of the worst things that can happen to any family,” said Edward Spall, BARN Board President. “Our new Community Living option is another way for BARN to help families who otherwise have no place to go. Our hope is that with our case management services and housing assistance they will progress to the point where they are able to live independently. Mr. Reid’s vision and experience are directly in line with the mission and future direction of BARN and I look forward to working with him on this next exciting phase.”


BARN Community Housing serves homeless families in Northern Virginia by providing case management services, basic emergency needs, and supportive housing through its rapid-rehousing and community housing programs. Since 1997, BARN has helped over 750 families move from homelessness to independence. BARN is a sponsored ministry of the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia. Learn more at www.barninc.org

Paying it Forward in memory of Kirra By: Krista Meeks

Kirra Faith Bealefeld would have turned 9 years old on February 23rd, 2017. Jennifer Sheller, Kirra’s mother wrote “Not a day goes by that we are not reminded of her physical absence in our life and at the very same time lifted up by her spiritual presence.  On this day more than any other, we are reminded to celebrate the life we have been given and the love we share with one another, because we know, very intimately, how delicate it is”. 

Last year Jennifer and her 10 year old son Ryder started a new tradition of celebrating life by doing something fun that they imagine Kirra would have enjoyed.  They also decided to “Pay It Forward” on that day in her memory, to show their gratitude for what they have and share it with others. This year they decided to go one step further. They invited their loved ones to join them to help spread love in honor of Kirra Faith and chose BARN’s families as beneficiaries of this wonderful plan.

Their goal was to collect $900 (for the 9th anniversary) in order to purchase items from BARN’s urgent need list. They surpassed their goal and on Thursday, February 23, Jennifer and Ryder arrived at BARN to deliver the items and they organized the donation shed to help ease the duties of BARN’s staff and volunteers.

Jennifer wrote the following post after their day at BARN.

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that participated in this amazing event! We were able to purchase food, bedding, cleaning supplies, diapers, bins, shelving, and other household needs – with the $1175 in donations you so generously contributed to this cause. Ryder & I spent the entire day helping to organize the pantry, diaper closet, cleaning supply room, and the outdoor bedding shed. We got a tour around the facility – which recently received a beautiful renovation courtesy of Ikea. Everyone was extremely kind to us and very thankful for our time and energy.

It was 75 degrees out in February, and the skies were sunny and bright blue! It was a perfect day, and all day we felt Kirra Faith right there with us. It was incredible to feel so much love on a day that normally brings us so much pain. Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for being a part of something so special to Ryder and me. You helped give us a very special day where we could spread love and kindness in honor of our special angel. You helped to give us something we have been wanting for over 9 years – a special day with Kirra. Thank you so much!!!

Thank you Jennifer and Ryder for letting BARN be a part of this wonderful tradition you have started in Kirra’s memory!

Naomi’s Project By: Krista Meeks

Meet 14 year old Naomi. As part of her church’s youth group project, she learned how to crochet and collected donated yarn to make hats for the families at BARN. Good Works is one of 9 values the youth learn in their program. Using a minimum of 10 hours they each have to learn a new skill and use it to help people. Naomi clearly exceeded the minimum hour requirement!

The other values are Faith, Choice, Knowledge, Accountability, Virtue, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, and Integrity.

Thanks Naomi for including BARN in working on your Good Works value!