More Housing Funding Needed to Help People Rebuild Their Lives
At the July 26, 2017 Congressional Reception, using Facebook Live, Monarch Housing Associates Intern Isabel Santos interviewed many of the 450 people from New Jersey who attended the event about why they supported increased housing funding.
Isabel found that people were excited and grateful to share their stories whether they were sharing stories of working to help those impacted by homeless or sharing their own personal stories of homelessness.
“Conducting these interviews reminded me why the Congressional Reception is so important. Those who I interviewed are the real people who have impacted by federal funding and public policy working to end homelessness and create affordable housing,” said Isabel. “Their lives were impacted in such a way that it is important to share their stories our elected officials. I realized how amazing the people impacted by homelessness they are. If they can overcome homelessness, imagine what they can accomplish when not having to worry about where to sleep?”
“If I didn’t have affordable housing, I wouldn’t be able to maintain my lifestyle,” said Beth Schneider. “I would not be able to live where I am living. I lost my housing voucher when I got divorced and became homeless. I am very, very happy with my housing. I just recently got back my apartment and I am happy and safe where I am.” Beth wants to tell her elected officials that abuse and neglect are often tied to homelessness.
Cedeana Peavy, 49, lives in Patterson, NJ in Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-9)’s district and she shared her story. ”I was homeless for 2 years after I became ill. I am on dialysis and have stage 3 cancer. I had trouble paying my bills on my own and got behind on my rent,” said Cedeana. “When I became ill in 2011, I had to stop working.”
Cedeana is now rents her own apartment with the help of a Shelter Plus Care voucher that she receives through the assistance of the Passaic County Board of Social Services.
“It has helped me tremendously. I am now able to afford my housing and pay my bills. I get picked up for treatment. It gave me the ability to have my own dwelling, my own apartment. My daughter is in her last year of college in Pennsylvania,” said Cedeana. “I have been working since I was 14. It bothers me to not work which is why I volunteer. I volunteer at the shelter where I used to work. I am a social worker by trade.”
Part of Cedeana’s message to our elected officials is around the critical importance to expand Medicaid. She herself is not eligible for Medicaid and cannot afford eyeglasses.
Elthea Townsend talked about her recent experience getting affordable housing. For many people, there is a lack of affordable homes available. “There need to be more buildings to help homeless people,” says Elthea.
George Skerletts spoke about how housing allowed him to lead a quality of life. Without his independence he got from housing, he fears that he would have considered ending how own life. “Without Collaborative Support Programs of NJ (CSPNJ) I wouldn’t be here,” says George.
If you have a story to share about how homelessness and affordable housing has impacted your life, please reach out to Kate Kelly at Monarch Housing. We would love to help you share the story with your elected officials in Washington.