Homeless Sabbath Weekend Focused on How to End Homelessness
This past weekend, 27 faith communities across Union County, New Jersey and beyond held first Annual Union County Homeless Sabbath Weekend to end homelessness for their neighbors.
As these congregations prayed and read in their services held Friday, December 16, Saturday, December 17, and Sunday, December 18, 2016, they share these stories of individuals and families who have experienced homelessness and in many cases, moved on to their own homes.
Ann (for privacy last names are not not included) and her two daughters, ages 6 and 9, are currently part of Family Promise’s shelter program and entered the program in May 2016.
Ann, who is divorced, lost her apartment after she was unable to pay the rent. She had completed most of a certificate program to become an anesthesia technician, but when she lost her child care, she was not able to complete the program.
Ann worked very hard to find her job and she works for Spirit Airlines at Newark Airport. Family Promise raised money for her to take driving lessons and hopefully, she will hopefully have her drivers’ license soon and receive a donated car.
Says Ann, “I was so blessed when I called Family Promise and they had a spot for us.” “But sometimes it is tough without an apartment. I want stability for my kids.” Through Family Promise’s shelter program, she moves to a different shelter congregation each week and that moving can be very tiring.
Susan (for privacy last names are not not included), 40 years old, lives in an apartment in Cranford with her five-year-old son who attends kindergarten. Susan works for JFK Medical Center. Before moving into their apartment, Susan and her son were homeless and lived in the Family Promise shelter program for nine months.
Before becoming homeless, they lived in their own apartment in Rahway. Susan’s current apartment in Cranford is through Homefirst Affordable Housing.
Says Susan about her new home, “It is affordable and has everything I need, a big kitchen and a nice bathroom – it is clean.” Her son has his own room and it is a “great experience for him to have his own room.” Ann can walk her son to school.
Susan shares her story with the hope that it “Helps to open up other doors for people to have a place to stay.”
Lisa (for privacy last names are not not included), 36 years old, lives in an apartment in Elizabeth with her two children – a 5 year old daughter and 3 year old son. She works at Beth Israel Hospital in Newark in the psychiatric department. She has lived in her apartment for two years and before that stayed in Family Promise’s program for a month.
Lisa and her children became homeless due to medical crisis in the family, she had to reduce her workload to take care of her son.
Lisa feels blessed that Family Promise could help her. Fortunately, because she was working, she was able to get back on her feet fairly quickly.
Lisa enjoys the peace of mind and stability of having her own apartment. Says Lisa, “It was a huge interruption, not to have our own home. I felt like a burden and unstable.” It was hard for her children to not have their own place to play with their toys.
Lisa wants to share that homelessness can happen to anyone no matter their socioeconomic status or their career. Anyone can become homeless and need help getting back on their feet.
About Family Promise: Family Promise works with the mission to help homeless and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through community-based response. Family Promise-Union County (FPUC) is one of more than 200 Affiliates nationwide serving children and their families.
About HomeFirst: We provide transitional, supportive and permanent affordable housing, homeless prevention assistance, and family support services to strengthen families and build communities. You can make a positive impact on the life of a family.