Andrew Holland has experienced homelessness for more than half of his life. Growing up in the Maryland Department of Human Services, commonly known as foster care, the 37-year-old says he has never been able to establish himself in long-term and secure stable housing.
“Every time I had a good thing going with a job or training, something would happen,” said Holland. “It was like the rug was always being pulled from underneath my feet.”
Having attended trade school for HVAC installation, and working various jobs in the service industry, Holland says he enjoys working and is most comfortable using his hands. Prior to the start of the pandemic, he worked at a restaurant at BWI Airport for three years. However, like millions across the country, the father of one with another on the way found himself unemployed as businesses began to shutter.
“I couldn’t believe how COVID-19 affected everything,” said Holland. “I was solely focused on providing for my family and being a role model for my son; then I suddenly lose my job. I didn’t know where to turn for support for my family, but thankfully a friend told me about Sarah’s House and here we are. It’s not ideal but we are safe and in a supportive environment, planning our next steps forward.”
“He is my world, my motivation”
Sarah’s House offers emergency shelter and project-based supportive housing with an array of other services for families experiencing homelessness in Anne Arundel County. Holland says he’s making use of the on-site therapist to cope with the many changes in his life, while also meeting with the financial advisor.
“The first time I met with Mr. Andrew one on one, I was impressed with his willingness to do anything he needed to do to take care of his family,” said Sarah’s House Program Director Kelly Anderson. “It was instantly apparent that they were his priority, and nothing was going to stand in his way.”
Anderson believes Holland’s openness to receiving services, accepting guidance, and following through with recommendations are going to be what leads him and his family to a life of self-sufficiency.
“When I look at my son I take a moment to breathe, relax and focus on what is necessary,” said Holland. “I came here because being on the street with him is not an option. He is my world, my motivation, he is why I work so hard in my job. I’m going to show my son there is better in this world. I’m willing to do anything and everything I can to provide him with the life I didn’t have and keep that smile on his face. My pride is set to the side because I’m living for my son.”
Holland and his girlfriend are expecting their second child in December. He is already planning to return to Sarah’s House once his family moves into permanent housing, so he can inspire other single fathers to stay the course and trust the process.