The Good Shepherd Alliance
20684 Ashburn Road
Ashburn, VA 20147
”For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 8:38-39
When you are truly living on purpose, you’re using your gifts, talents and experience to make a positive difference in the world.
The Good Shepherd Alliance (GSA) is a Christian non-profit organization providing help and hope for the homeless and near homeless through emergency and transitional housing and referral services. Led by Executive Director Vickie Koth, the organization traces its origins back to 1983 and the efforts of a local pastor from Sterling who wanted to provide assistance for the county’s homeless youth. GSA was the first shelter in Loudoun County and began raising funds to house the homeless for a short time at a local area motel. Area developers then became involved by allowing the use of vacant residences in the spirit of mutual responsibility in addressing the early issues of homelessness.
The organization has since evolved into an exhaustive suite of shelter, case management and outreach services for the greater Loudoun homeless community. Its infrastructure now includes multiple GSA-owned properties that serve as emergency shelters and transitional housing, a Board of Directors, hundreds of dedicated volunteers and a full-time professional staff. The homeless charity, headquartered in Ashburn, maintains emergency shelters in Lucketts and transitional housing in Leesburg and Purcellville. Three thrift stores that generate revenue used to support the GSA’s day-to-day functions are located in Leesburg, Ashburn and Sterling.
The GSA has a different philosophy than most non-profit organizations. Although those Loudoun residents who benefit from the GSA’s services are in a difficult situation that others may view as being needy or problematic, the GSA believes that their “neighbors” and “guests” have many capabilities and resources to offer to their own and the community’s benefit. The non-profit seeks to enable their guests to employ their assets, skills and talents to help themselves in obtaining self-sufficiency and self-worth rather than offering another temporary program that continues their dependency on others. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.
The GSA currently operates a 22-bed emergency shelter for women and children called Hebron House, which is named after a place in the Bible meaning “place of refuge.” Residents begin the “Six Steps to Self-Sufficiency” program upon entering the shelter. This is an intensive case management program geared towards helping families in crisis return to a stable, independent living state. Guests may stay up to 89 days in the emergency shelters. Most are able to progress through the program in this time frame.
The Peace House is a transitional home for single women, providing up to one year of continued support for four of GSA’s six-step program graduates. These women have worked hard to achieve set goals with their GSA case manager and have proven their determination to make a change in their own lives. Although sincere in their efforts to reach self-sufficiency, these ladies require more time to save money to help assure success and reduce the chance that they will return to a state of homelessness.
Mary’s House of Hope is a two year program transitional home for single pregnant women and women with newborns that is the next step in helping young homeless mothers become the best parents they can be. Residents at Mary’s House have proven successful in the GSA six-step program and have worked diligently to gain self-sufficiency while residing at our Hebron shelter. However, having a baby can put a tremendous strain on a mother in this situation. The difficulties of having an infant, and possibly another young toddler to manage, while facing a low-income situation, can cause a huge set-back for someone coming out of homelessness. It can even result in being homeless again and losing custody of children due to an unstable environment and living situation.
At Mary’s House of Hope mothers receive support and resources necessary to help prevent a cycle of homelessness that can pass on to the next generation. The women receive pre- and post-partum support such as prenatal care, lactation consulting, parenting classes and the consistency of a safe home for up to two years. Mary’s House is home to three women, either pregnant or having an infant, three toddlers and the house monitor.
The GSA also provides transitional housing for families through individual single-family homes. These homes provide a time of stability when a family is faced with a significant drop in income such as a job loss or medical situation, which results in eviction or foreclosure. This one-year program allows time for a family to reassess their financial situation, create a financial plan, save money and work on paying off debt. During this time, our professional case managers work with the family on a plan to achieve their goals during their stay with us.
The non-profit’s programs not only serve those facing imminent homelessness, but those who are working to prevent it. They receive many calls every day from individuals and families who are struggling just to get by. The GSA offers food from their pantry, free clothing and household items from their thrift stores, and counseling or direction from other resources through their case managers.
The GSA works with other programs, services, businesses and organizations across the county and beyond to provide resources and referrals to help those in need. Many individuals and families have needs that the GSA cannot assist with, but the non-profit is able to direct these individuals to organizations that can. They coordinate services with other organizations for their shelter guests as well.
The GSA works together with these other area organizations to support them and the individuals and families they serve. Rather than stocking large amounts of supplies, they pass on to other groups any surplus they have collected through food, coat and supply drives. Cooperative relationships with county programs, shelters, counseling services and other resources allow all service providers to better serve the same individuals and families without duplicating effort and maximizing the impact in our community.
Every service the GSA provides is in some way supported by the local community; this includes long-term loan of homes for shelters and food pantries filled with donations from local organizations and restaurants. Churches send volunteers to help with shelter maintenance, tutoring and other services and local businesses provide at-cost or free car repairs, dentistry and supplies. Historically, in-kind donations totaling over $100,000 are received each year.
The GSA supports a total of seven homes that house 60 individuals on any given day. Two-thirds of our residents are children. We rely on the community’s financial support to provide the shelter, heat, food, supplies, case management and all other needs for our families in transition back to stability. By the grace of God and through the generosity, care and concern from our community members and 2,000 volunteers, this year we touched the lives of over 130 shelter residents and 2,600 individuals in need.
Looking for shelter or other services? Call (703) 724-1555.
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