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Begin Again

Anne is bragging about her client, a single mom with three kids. The mom moved back into the area with nothing, after a divorce and domestic violence. They stayed with her parents for a while, but she found her father gripped by meth addiction, and her mother and disabled sister were really struggling. When her parents lost their housing, she knew she had to get out.

Within a month of working with Anne, the family first stayed in a motel, and then the mom secured a job and found an apartment. “VOA paid for the motel, but also the rental deposit and first month’s rent. I was completely behind her. I was so proud of her for doing what she needed to do.” Anne pauses. “What felt really good is….you have to pull into your reservoirs to find your strength and begin again.”

Anne Hoffman knows something about new beginnings.

From 12 to 25, from Seattle to Bellingham, Anne struggled against undiagnosed mental health challenges, self-medicating with marijuana. She started and stopped school. She started and stopped jobs. “I’ve been able to overcome many things. It hasn’t been easy for me. But, I’ve been blessed.” With help and proper diagnoses, Anne pulled into her own reservoirs, finished school and embarked on a career of service. She started with VOA in 1999 as the Emergency Shelter Case Manager, returned in 2006 as a Team Leader for our Housing and Transitional Services department, and returned again in 2017 as a Navigator for the Dispute Resolution Center, helping families in crisis find the support they need to begin again. As of today, Anne has lived a recovery-based life for over 27 years.

“I wanted to turn my liabilities into assets. Use my experiences, strength and hope to make people’s lives better.” In addition to working, Anne is going back to school to earn a certificate in Financial Counseling, so she can help families even more. She loves her work and plans on staying. “When I walk into VOA, I feel like I’m going to church, to a sacred place.”

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Anne Hoffman serves as a Prevention Navigator in our Dispute Resolution Center, connecting clients with rental assistance and other support. Anne’s story is featured in our #IamVOA campaign.

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