450 NJ Constituents Will Be in Washington on July 26 to Fight Proposed Federal Housing Cuts to Programs that Transform Lives
On July 26, 2017, over 450 advocates from New Jersey will travel to Washington, DC for the Congressional Reception with the theme “No Cuts to Housing” which will protect resources that transform lives and end homelessness.
Jillian, Daryl and Josh will be joined from speakers from all twelve congressional districts along with statewide and national speakers who will address the importance of funding to transform lives and end homelessness.
Jillian Belgrave lives in Denville and is a constituent of Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11) Jillian is now the single caregiver of two young children and is grateful for the assistance through the Section 8 voucher that helps her afford her apartment. The lives of Jillian’s family have been turned around and she now she is back at work. She is grateful for the support that she has received from Homeless Solutions.
“Looking back on my life now, I would have never imagined I would be homeless. In my eyes, I had done everything right. I had a good education, a job I loved and was happy. My husband served in the military,” says Jillian. After a job loss and unexpected health crisis, Jillian and her family became homeless and moved into Homeless Solutions’ shelter and then moved to transitional housing.
From the shelter, the family moved into transitional housing and because the rent was affordable, they began saving money and received help repairing their credit. He received assistance through an education fund and found a higher paying job at Newark Airport.
“When I hear the question ‘what was it like to be homeless?’ I need to stop and think about it. To me, we were homeless when we had nowhere to go,” says Jillian. “But after we found Homeless Solutions, in my eyes we weren’t homeless anymore. Those two places became our home. There is a common quote and one that I truly do believe in, and that is “home is where your heart is”.
“It has been a long journey for our family,” says Jillian. “Today, we feel happy and safe.”
Daryl became homeless while battling a drug addiction. But he has lived in an affordable apartment since 2013. Federal HOME funding helped build the apartment building that he lives in that was developed by and is managed by Homeless Solutions. “HOME funding allowed me to put a roof over my head and regain my independence,” says Daryl.
Prior to becoming homeless, Daryl worked for the U.S. Attorney General’s office and for Princeton University. “Homelessness devastated my life,” says Daryl. “I never thought that I would find myself in the place that I was in now.” He reentered the workforce 12 years ago and works for Walmart where he has worked up to a managerial position.
Today, Daryl tells Congressman Frelinghusyen, “Please make sure that we get the housing funding. Securing funding to expand affordable homes in New Jersey can enhance your legacy.” Daryl remembers meeting the Congressman 20 years ago while he was participating in a drug rehabilitation program.
“HUD funding helps me personally,” says Josh. “My Housing First apartment could be jeopardized by the new administration’s proposed budget.”
Josh is in recovery from drug addiction. Funding through the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) makes such an impact on his life that he wants to fight the proposed housing funding cuts.
Josh believes in the Housing First model and wants to keep fighting for other people who also need housing. Josh credits housing for helping him succeed in his recovery. He appreciates not having to worry about having a roof over his head while he was recovering. Says Josh, “Sober and homeless, don’t really go together.”
After being homeless for almost five years, Josh now prides himself in being self-sufficient. This November, he will have lived in his apartment for three years.
“Continued HUD funding for Housing First programs is key to creating opportunities to transform lives,” said Boris Zaydel, Director of Compliance and Property Management at New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC.)