All 60 years of her life, Patricia Ratlief has lived in the same two-story home in downtown Winchester. A row house, just around the corner from the childhood home of the late country singer Patsy Cline.
The house used to be filled with the hustle and bustle of her five siblings. Now, Patricia lives alone, surrounding herself with festive décor. She decorates the house for each season, and on this particular day, the home is adorned for the Easter holiday. Colorful paper rabbits lined the walls from the dining room to the kitchen cabinets, and pastel paper Easter baskets dangled from the ceiling.
She is a woman of strong faith and exudes joy. Considering her story, one might wonder what makes her happy. Patricia would tell you, “the Lord.” Life has been far from easy. Her closest family members – her mother, father and aunt - all passed away in three consecutive years. She was nearly 30 years old when they died and didn’t have a job because she had been their primary caretaker throughout their illnesses.
“When my mom passed away I experienced a time when I didn’t have much food at all. At that time I was looking and looking for a job, and just couldn’t get one. I think I lost about 75 to 100 pounds back then because I didn’t have anything. I would go for days at a time without eating.”
Read the rest of Patricia's story in our Annual Report.
One word defines the atmosphere of The Virginian: Forgotten.
The dirty and scuffed gray floors. The old, creaky elevator. The gloomy walls. All forgotten.
Since being converted to government-subsidized housing, The Virginian, a timeworn hotel in downtown Lynchburg, has become home to hundreds of low-income families like Marc and Patricia Beely.
The Beelys are a young couple living with serious medical issues. Marc, 34, recently had a benign brain tumor removed. Patricia, 26, has cerebral palsy. In their short lives, Patricia and Marc have experienced a considerable amount of adversity, living on the streets for several months before coming to Lynchburg.
Today, they’re thankful for shelter, although uncomfortable. The apartment is cramped and not handicapped accessible for Patricia, who relies on a wheelchair.
Read the rest of Marc and Patricia's story in our Annual Report.