Losing Sight but Regaining Hope With NVFS' Guidance


Angelique Jones, a 50-year-old resident of Northern Virginia, was on the verge of losing her home and her health. Diagnosed as legally blind following a quick onset of degenerating vision because of other health concerns, Angelique became unemployed because she needed to be able to see to perform her job. Without income or health benefits, Angelique couldn’t afford both housing and her medical bills, causing her to put her health on the backburner.

Angelique knew she needed help, but because of the uniqueness of her case, she was having difficulty finding a program to suit her specific needs.

“I’m blind, and I’ll be on the side of the street by myself,” Jones shared. “How does that make sense?”

Angelique’s case caught the attention of Paula Stockman, benefits counselor of community housing programs at NVFS, who was able to offer Angelique the help she so desperately needed at no cost to her.

“I heard her situation and felt like I could at least provide her with information or hold her hand through the eviction process and help her transition to a shelter,” says Stockman.

“Paula always tries to find a way to help me,” said Jones. “They find answers for me, and if they can’t, they let me know and don’t leave me alone.”

Angelique was assisted by the Emergency Solutions Grant Program (ESG), which covered her rent after going through Social Security Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR), a process to receive expedited Social Security benefits, before moving into accessible housing that provided her with a comfortable space that was easier to navigate.

Once settled, Stockman enrolled Angelique in NVFS’ Bridging Affordability program, a collaborative program of community partners who provide housing, job training and rental assistance for clients in need for up to 24 months. Stockman noted a clause in Bridging Affordability’s benefits set aside for clients with sensory deprivation, and because of Angelique’s recent onset of blindness, she qualified. Through Bridging Affordability, Angelique received rental assistance, allowing her to remain in her own apartment. Through Stockman and the rest of her team’s persistence, Angelique also secured SSI benefits to compensate her lost income as part of Angelique’s long-term stability plan.

NVFS’ wraparound services continue to better Angelique’s health, wellness and livelihood, addressing her primary challenges of paying her rent, as well as secondary health concerns. Referrals to NVFS’ Dental Access and Health Access programs plan to address overdue dental care and obtain eyeglasses to assist with her degenerating vision. Stockman is also ensuring Angelique has help with Metro Access, a Medicaid waiver for in-home aid, and connecting her with the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired so she can continue living her life with independence and accessibility.

Today, Angelique is thriving with Bridging Affordability. She is receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), has an aid to help her navigate her new world as someone who’s blind, and is even hoping to welcome a new companion to her home – a guide dog.

“I would love a guide dog. I’m by myself. My daughter lives far away, and my son is in the Army. It’s lonesome,” Jones explained. “Aside from doctor’s appointments, I’m at home by myself. The companionship is needed.”

Angelique continues to learn to navigate the world without her sight, but one thing she is no longer without is hope.

“NVFS saved my life,” Angelique concluded. “I love the crew at NVFS.”

“I heard her laugh two weeks ago,” says Stockman. “Before, she was alone and with nothing and so depressed. Now she has hope. She has help. She has things going on and is moving forward.”