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Homes for the Homeless in Virginia

5:44 PM, Oct 20, 2013   |    comments
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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA9) -- Twenty longtime homeless men and women in Fairfax County, now have a place to call home. 

Mondloch Place, a new facility in Alexandria, is a place where residents in some cases have been plucked out of the woods, off the streets or people's couches, to sign leases and pay rent. Some believe it's the model to end homelessness and possibly much more.

When 62-year-old Terry Taylor lost his job, he was in and out of shelters before he came to Mondloch Place.

"It reminds me of being on my feet again, just what I needed," he says.

In Anthony Payne's case, his alcoholism was so bad it left him in a coma 10 years ago and out in the streets.

"I have a depression problem and I was drinking myself to death. I lived in the woods for a year and a half. I chopped trees to make a fire to keep warm."

The model of Mondloch Place is a new one for Northern Virginia and the vision of Pam Michell, the executive director of New Hope Housing. It's also the largest homeless agency in Northern Virginia.

The 20 residents come from all walks of life but all have a long history of homelessness in Fairfax County.

"People are now able to focus on something else than survival," says Michell.

These men and women, pay 30% of their income, anywhere from $50 to $200 dollars a month for these studio apartments.

Michell adds, "If you are only making 750 a month, where are you going to live? The units are small only 350 square feet nothing fancy."

Payne says his apartment "came with a coffee maker, mason jar, two burner stove. I cook my own meals."

Residents buy their own food. They can receive counseling and resources to find jobs.

"This place means everything to me. I'm not in the streets worried about where I'll lay my head or eat," Payne says. "It's 100% better than the last place. I was going to laundry room to laundry room. You don't want to get caught because you could go to jail for trespassing."

While Mondloch Place celebrates its official opening, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will be taking up a rezoning issue looking at Mondloch Place as an example of how they can help the rest of the homeless population and people who are getting on their feet -- working a minimum wage job and can't afford the high market price of rent.

Michell, "It's the answer for a certain subset of the populations for singles. It's affordable small."

Sixty-two-year-old Taylor is now gainfully employed.

"I feel now that I have a job I feel better about myself. When I'm ready to make my next move I will. I'm happy," he says. 

Payne was overjoyed when he saw the 'welcome home' sign on his door. 

"It's like my own home," he says. "It's been a while since I've been able to turn my own key in my own home. Finally have a home."

The facility was paid for by federal and local dollars. New Hope Housing says they serve 300 people a night. As of last January, they say there are roughly 1,350 homeless in Fairfax County.

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