A recent story on food insecurity recently featured Heather Thomas, Chair of the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Moving to Work Resident Advisory Committee. Thomas – a social worker, wife, mother of six, and Fairfax County resident – shared a powerful story of her family’s struggle with housing and food insecurity in one of the wealthiest counties in the nation. It is a story reflective of many working families in Fairfax County where a lost job, health crisis, or other catastrophic circumstance or collection of “bad luck” experiences have left them facing possible homelessness and hunger.
“There’s a lot of misunderstanding about people who end up needing food or who are struggling with homelessness – there seems to be a mentality of ‘this won’t happen to us,’ or ‘what did they do to deserve that?” Thomas said. “My husband and I are college educated; my husband is an honorably discharged combat veteran; and we’ve both been working since we were teenagers.”
Thomas’s experience highlights the fact that, when it comes to the basic necessities of food and housing, instabilities often have consequences in other areas of our lives such as health, emotional well-being, education, and career growth. It is an essential reminder of the significance behind Fairfax County’s Housing and Human Services work.