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Helping a Homeless Woman Living in Her Car in Leesburg, Virginia

AuthorRichard Zaher

Juan Arevalo, a friend I know from our high school days, called me last week with palpable concern in his voice. Kathy, a lady he used to work with, became homeless overnight.

She now found solace in the confined space of her car, sheltered in a local parking garage with her loyal companion, a dog named Machusla. In light of the uncertainties she faced, we arranged a meeting in that very garage. My sons, Leo and Alex, wanted to join the mission so I brought them with me.

As the rain poured, our conversation with Kathy unfolded like chapters in a book of struggles. Over the past year, she weathered a storm of unfortunate events. She lost her shelter and faced unemployment. Now, she’s grappling with the looming threat of insufficient work hours during the winter. Despite homelessness, Kathy, a skilled horticulturist, perseveres in her work. Yet, concerns linger about the scarcity of work hours to weather the winter.

a car in a parking lot

Kathy shared plans to navigate unemployment and explore relocation to a more affordable town. All this while ensuring her loyal companion, Machusla, experiences the best despite their homeless situation. Listening to Kathy, I’ve come to understand that homelessness goes beyond the mere absence of a roof. It’s a feeling of profound erosion of dignity. It’s a daunting challenge that tests one’s ability to make sound choices amidst the worst life storm and solitude. It’s not an easy journey, and no one should face it alone — especially Kathy, who is still working a full-time job. 

Motivated by what I heard and felt, on behalf of Best You Best Me, I provided Kathy with $2,000 — more than intended when planning this meeting, but perhaps not enough for lasting change.  

If you can help Kathy find work through the winter please reach out directly to her at


Richard Zaher

About the author

Honesty, hard work, and treating people well – these are cornerstones of my life and Best You Best Me foundation. I try to keep my eyes and heart open because opportunities for kindness are everywhere.

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