2021 was not the year most of us hoped for at the end of 2020. Rather than come out of the pandemic, we had new waves. We experienced a new phenomenon, "The Great Resignation," which is now part of our lexicon. Then prices for everything from housing to used cars went through the roof.
Fortunately, the news was not all bad. Children went back to school in September, unemployment levels turned around, and salaries increased across the board as companies competed to hire staff. ACTS saw our own ups and downs throughout 2021. The worst was the Great Resignation. After weathering 2020 with a solid team, dozens of staff came to me in 2021 saying, "I love ACTS and what I do, but I just can't do it anymore." At one point, we were down two program directors and were forced to close our second safe house, which we had only opened a year ago, due to not having enough Resident Assistants to staff the facility 24/7. This forced us to move domestic violence victims into motels once again, which cost well over $20,000 per month for food and lodging. At the same time, we were forced to also close our emergency shelter due to maintenance issues we could no longer put off.
On the positive side, the community continued to support us; we received additional grants to assist clients impacted by COVID; most of our services saw decreasing numbers of clients; our shelter received a complete remodel; and our Prince William Food Rescue program expanded to the point that we split it off as ACTS first subsidiary company – Northern Virginia Food Rescue, which has already expanded into Fairfax County and is poised to launch in Fauquier County.
Thankfully, as ACTS heads into our 53rd year of service, 2022 looks much better for us and our neighbors!