Success Stories

Success Stories

A few years ago, Sandy suffered a devastating personal loss that almost caused her to lose her home.

Thanks to Arlington Thrive, Sandy was able to stay in her home and start on the path to financial stability. Today, Sandy supports Arlington Thrive by serving on our Board of Directors. Because Arlington Thrive’s assistance helped her take the first step toward a better future, Sandy wants to help others who are facing similar financial problems.

William is very grateful for Arlington Thrive’s assistance during his family’s time of need.

William approached the Arlington County Department of Human Services to request assistance with his family’s rent payment. His wife was recently diagnosed with cancer and no longer able to work. The couple’s dependence on two incomes, plus mounting medical bills left the family with insufficient rent money. William also expressed his concern regarding the impact of stress on his wife’s health in the event that they would be evicted. William was eligible for rental assistance from Arlington Thrive which helped pay a portion of his family’s rent for two months. Because of Arlington Thrive’s emergency assistance, William, his wife, and their family were able of focus on her health without the financial and emotional stress of being evicted.

Your financial support helped keep a grieving man from losing his home.

Mr. Adams (name changed for confidentiality) is a 74 year-old resident who requested assistance from the Department of Human Services (DHS) Aging and Disability Services. He had multiple health issues, including diabetes and a heart condition. Also, he was dependent on an oxygen tank. Mr. Adams had fallen behind on his rent because of unexpected expenses related to a death in his family.

 Arlington County social workers helped Mr. Adams to obtain a housing grant and to make an application for Virginia Medicaid. Medicaid would provide him with badly needed additional insurance coverage for his medical needs. His County social worker asked Arlington Thrive to help pay for part of his May rent. With help from the County DHS and Arlington Thrive, Mr. Adam’s disposable income increased and he avoided eviction from his apartment where he had resided for 15 years. Without the partnership of Arlington Thrive and Arlington County DHS, Mr. Adams would not only be grieving the loss of a family member but would be homeless as well.


Like many of our clients, Emily faced a crisis and needed emergency assistance to prevent a more costly health catastrophe.

 Emily (name changed for confidentiality) moved out from the house in which she was living with her emotionally and physically abusive husband. As a result of the physical abuse Emily endured, she experienced severe dental trauma that required multiple rounds of dental work. The total cost of the necessary procedures, after a generous discount from the dentist, was over $3000. Even with the reduction in price, finding this amount of extra money in Emily’s budget was impossible. After hearing Emily’s story, Arlington Thrive generously agreed to provide the entire amount necessary for Emily’s dental work. After the dental work and resulting improved appearance, Emily is more confident in her ability to find employment, support her family and maintain her independence.

Arlington Thrive proved to be a lifeline at the right time for Denise. Because she believes so strongly in our mission, she has asked us to use her real name. Here’s her story:

Denise moved to Arlington after working at the same social services job for over nine years in Minnesota. Grieving for her boyfriend, a US Army soldier who was killed in Iraq, she initially intended to take a “break” for a year or so. She chose to come to the Washington area because her boyfriend was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

About a year later, Denise was ready to find a new job, but an unexpected health issue changed that plan. Just 40 years old, she detected a lump in her breast. She went in for her very first mammogram and was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer.

“At the time, I had no local friends, no job, no family in the area, sketchy month-to-month private insurance, and not much savings left,” Denise said.

Because this happened before the Affordable Health Care Act took effect, Denise’s insurance company would no longer cover her. Fortunately, her physicians and Virginia Hospital Center were willing to write off her extensive medical bills, which eventually included two surgeries, four rounds of chemo, and 33 daily radiation sessions. 

Even after she had eliminated any extra expenses from her budget, including cable, internet and telephone, she struggled just to pay her rent and purchase food that would aid in her recovery. 

Two months after completing her cancer treatment, and after applying for countless jobs, Denise finally found a job. Unfortunately, because she would not get paid for several weeks after her start date, she didn’t have enough money to pay her rent. Then the Virginia Hospital Center directed her to Arlington Department of Human Services (DHS) and Arlington Thrive. With only $150 left in her bank account, Denise was able to get $1000 of her month’s rent paid by DHS, and the remainder (approximately $400) was paid by Arlington Thrive.   

“I have gone to school or worked, other than a few brief periods, my entire adult life. If you had told me there would ever be a point where I would need public assistance, I would not have believed you.  I was not the kind of person who would ever need it. Until I was.  It was the most terrifying, helpless, humbling experience I have ever gone through,” said Denise. “People wouldn’t necessarily believe me when I said it, but running out of money was much more stressful than having cancer ever was. My doctors would ask me to discuss my stress levels and stressors, and I would tell them that cancer was not even cracking the top five anymore.”

Today, Denise is a Program Manager for the Department of Defense and is able to pay her bills on her own. She credits Arlington Thrive with helping her get back on her feet again.

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