Mary Mulholland puts it lightly. "Ebony didn't walk in here wearing a suit," said Mulholland, the director of Community Vision, a homeless services center in Silver Spring.
In reality, Ebony was homeless, unemployed, 23 years old and in need of help — and she arrived at Community Vision in 2007 with the attitude that no one could help her. On Friday, Ebony sat in Mulholland's office in a suit. Poised and answering a visitor's questions as if it was a job interview, Ebony responded in complete sentences and maintained eye contact throughout. She then left Mulholland's office to prepare for a job interview later that day.
"If I didn't have Community Vision, I truly believe I would've been strung out on drugs or living in the streets," said Ebony, who asked that her last name not be used so as not to jeopardize her chances at employment. She hopes to work as a receptionist in the short-term and a stylist after she completes cosmetology school.
Ebony's not on drugs nor is she living on the streets. She's working toward employment and living in the Sophia House, a shelter in Rockville. But because of a cut in county funds, Community Vision — the only homeless services center south of the Beltway that provides job readiness training like Ebony received — likely will close if County Executive Isiah Leggett's proposed budget is approved.