What does home mean to you? The Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development posed this question recently as a prompt for their Housing for All writing competition. Elsie, a resident at Calvary, wrote an eloquent response and secured first place in the contest!
On Saturday, Elsie read her essay at the Housing for All Rally, during which many advocates, local officials, and community members voiced their concerns and commitment to affordable housing. Many were moved to tears, and cheered her on to resounding applause after her reading.
If you weren’t able to join us on Saturday at the rally, you’re in luck—Elsie agreed to share her essay on the blog. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
A home should radiate security, warmth, love, and be welcoming. It should have the aesthetics of a Picasso, the music and song of Josh Brolin. It should represent the competitive spirit of its inhabitants. A home’s construction and foundation should depict the strength and courage it took to plan and save for its creation.
A home swaths you in its tenderness as found within its cherished occupants. It is not the cost of the home that matters. It is not the good judgment and sacrifice of its residents; it takes to make a lifetime purchase of such meaningful consequence.
A home grounds us! It is what we yearn for. It protects us; it gives us privacy and confidentiality while granting us a purpose in life. It allows us to grow with it. We become part of a village – a community. We are the home – the home is us!
Where I live today is a transitional housing program. It is, also, communal living. Its name is Calvary Women’s Services. I receive meals, showers, social services, job assistance, counseling, life skills programs and support groups. Although part of a community, it represents family to me, as it is to many homeless women. I learn crafts, nutrition and food, computer skills, money smart application, and more.
I was linked to outside service providers to further my individual needs. I have learned meditation through yoga methods. Controlling one’s breathing is both, artful and significant in reducing stress. Education and self-development does not stop with age. Where there is a need, there is love, bestowed from the heart by trained staff and volunteers. Home is a combination of the above. A home is what you make it! We enjoy ours! I am pleased to share it with you today.
Washington, D.C. stands as my place of birth, but is, also, the Nation’s Capitol city. There is much to love about my home town. Challenging as politics are, there is no other global entity to compare with its dynasty of power. Washington, D. C. is a hub of world negotiations. It is, also, home to me!
I claim my home and federal city as one of a kind. I say it best: I am grateful to the fathers and forefathers; the sisterhood, found at Calvary, for granting me shelter and safety of a home to return to. I’ve been away for several years. Housing prices, in general, have escalated beyond my limited social security retirement income. I took a risk on returning home! Affordable housing options are necessary to protect D.C.’s families and their relationship to home. Today we live in a depressed housing market, where the cost-of-living is higher than most states. Calvary allows poorer citizens a vehicle, through processes, toward finding independent housing.
Thank you ALL for allowing me the spirit to continue with my dreams; the courage and determination to “Come Home!”