With no home, mom is stressed

This article about the challenging work being undertaken on a daily basis in Camden to manage homelessness should only give us more encouragement to work to end homelessness. This appeared in the March 6th Courier-Post.

With no home, mom is stressed

By ALAN GUENTHER, Courier-Post Staff

CAMDEN

When women and children need a place to stay, temporary shelter is available at the Anna M. Sample center on Line Street, which can serve about 85 homeless women and children.

Center Director Ayanna Kornegay says she is frustrated that her center lacks the money to provide her clients training so they can learn real skills to prepare them to re-enter the world.

For example, Ana Velez, 28, lives at the center with her three children, Bryant, 1, Adriana, 3, and Savannah, 6.

Whenever she has a child, Velez receives temporary rent assistance — a program that can pay a client’s rent for between six months and a year, Kornegay says.

Three times, Velez found homes in the city that charged about $750 a month to house her family.

But as soon as the rental assistance ended, Velez was evicted and was homeless again, Kornegay explains, because she cannot pay rent to house her family on the $322 she earns in monthly welfare assistance.

“It’s a vicious cycle,” Kornegay says.

Velez has no high school degree and no job skills. She wants to move to public housing, but there’s a three- to five-year waiting list in Camden, Kornegay says.

Velez says, “My stress level is very high.

“When it is time to leave here, I am hoping there will be something for me and my family,” she says. “But I’ve been evicted three times. Who will take me?”

Reach Alan Guenther at (856) 317-7871. Published: March 06. 2007 3:10AM