Local nonprofit PathForward has helped an Arlington man who has experienced homelessness for more than 15 years finally find a place to call his own.
Earlier this month, the organization tweeted that it was able to find a new home for Barry Oliver, who was often seen in the Ballston, Virginia Square and Clarendon neighborhoods. He moved into a subsidized apartment in Arlington the prior week.
GOOD NEWS FOR A CHANGE: Barry Oliver is settling into his own apartment after living on the streets of Arlington, Virginia for 15 years. Two women — Kasia and Gabrielle from PathForward — worked tirelessly to provide him with a home and medical care. #homelessness #Arlington pic.twitter.com/57Bu9Regh8
— PathForward (@PathForwardVA) March 2, 2022
“It probably was the happiest and most rewarding [experience] I’ve had in a long time,” PathForward Senior Director of Medical Services Kasia Shaw tells ARLnow.
She had helped Oliver with his medical needs as well as finding a home. “To be part of that transformation and change Mr. Oliver’s life was just so great.”
Oliver had experienced homelessness for nearly 17 years due to a myriad of medical, health and professional challenges, including back problems, job loss and having his only mode of transportation — his moped — stolen several times.
In a video produced by PathForward last month, Oliver describes how a feeling of hopelessness can be pervasive after such a long period of time.
“After that length of time, you no longer think that something is going to happen,” he says. “Because nothing has happened in 17 years to change your situation…I figured I would be homeless forever… PathForward has absolutely saved my life. Absolutely.”
In December 2019, he walked into PathForward’s facilities (then called A-SPAN) on 14th St N. in Courthouse in obvious pain and had trouble walking. After a number of examinations, it was discovered that he had several herniated discs that would end up requiring two surgeries.
When Shaw first met him, it was clear that Oliver needed help. But he was reluctant to accept it, which isn’t unusual for those who experience homelessness.
“If all of a sudden you lose your housing for whatever reason, it’s a very traumatic experience. And so when people try to help you, you might be weary like, ‘Do I really trust you?,'” says Shaw. “Trust is a big, big component of it.”
After his second surgery in January 2022, Shaw and his case manager Gabrielle Goodson worked to find housing for him that met his needs.
It can be difficult and “time consuming,” says Shaw, to find an appropriate place to live for someone who has experienced homelessness for a long period of time.
Sometimes, they are missing needed paperwork and identification. Apartments usually require a source of income to sign a lease, which is a challenge for some. There are also accessibility and health considerations.
While there are buildings that the organization regularly works with and even owns, Oliver ended up in an Arlington building that the organization hadn’t worked with before.
A week later, Shaw says that Oliver is getting set up nicely in his new home, with donated furniture along with household items that he’s bought himself.
This past July, Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN) rebranded as PathForward with a continuing philosophy that housing is a path forward for folks. Funding mainly comes from grants, contributions, and contracted services with the county.
The organization says that they find housing for 25 to 30 people a year, but there’s a real concern the need will continue to go up in Arlington, says Shaw.
With new developments and luxury apartments consistently being built in the county, longtime residents are being priced out of housing.
“It’s definitely a challenge,” says Shaw. “What we’re finding is a lot of elderly homeless who have a lot of medical needs.”
PathForward was able to find housing for Oliver. Shaw gets a bit emotional thinking about something he said to her recently.
“He said… ‘You are the only health care professional that I trust,'” says Shaw. “That’s huge and really means a lot. It reaffirms why I’m doing what I’m doing.”
If you’re not one of the many proudly sporting a Gondola Now shirt around town, you’re missing out on a high quality piece of apparel that starts lots of interesting…
The Old Bike Shop in Lyon Park is closing next month after a decade in business. Owner Lawrence Behery told ARLnow that he’s shuttering the used bike repair and sales…
Ballston is about to get spicier with Hangry Joe’s Hot Chicken Pub & Wings opening next week. The Nashville-style hot chicken chain plans to open its newest location on Monday…
Local Boy Scouts of America and Girls Scouts troops in Virginia may get some tax relief — if a local lawmakers succeeds in modifying the state constitution. Inspired by the…
St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.
Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.
We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up.
For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at www.stcharlesarlington.org or call (703) 527-0608.
If you are a lifelong learner over 50+ who wants to make new friends, power up your brain, and enjoy a wide-variety college-level courses, Encore Learning is for you. An Arlington based nonprofit, Encore Learning offers courses in the arts, theater, literature, history, technology and more. This semester we offer our most popular course, Global Hot Spots as well as 25 new courses. Courses are presented either online or in-person at George Mason University at Virginia Square and other Arlington locations.
Join the free presentation to learn about courses and meet the instructors. This is Encore Learning’s signature event to highlight the upcoming semester with brief presentations by each instructor.
The Spring Course Preview event is Thursday, February 2nd at 9:30 AM via Zoom:
The truth, your first pregnancy and new mom months are full of twists and turns, ups and downs, and lots of questions! None of us really know the best way to do it – we just figure it out, together…