Congressman Frank Pallone introduced himself to the audience. Congressman Pallone told the crowd that he hopeful that some of the funding bills will be revised between now and the fall.
He encouraged advocates when they went home to not only to continue talking to elected officials but to “talk to anyone you can, get people to send letters, and get people to send emails because there is going to be, in my opinion, an opportunity to change what is going on so that we don’t have this level of (proposed) cuts … Obviously, I am with you 100%.”
Rebecca Rhoads, Diocese Charities of Metuchen reminded the audience, “Obviously, we can’t afford any cuts to housing funding.” Speaking about people experiencing homelessness, Rebecca said “It could be anyone of us at any time.”
Cory Storch, President & CEO, Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services thanked everyone for being part of the Congressional Reception. “We need to get energized for the fight ahead,” Cory said. “Without affordable safe housing coupled with the services, the outcomes would not be possible. We need to make this investment.”
Cory introduced Lilia Loor, a client of Bridgeway, who told the audience, “Housing cuts are detrimental to urban communities that serve the disabled, homeless and low income families.”
Lilia spoke of her experience surviving a suicide attempt, being diagnosed with mental illness, losing custody of her children, being homeless and being in jail. Said Lilia, “Yet, with help from rental assistance and supportive housing services, what was once a shattered life has now become a happy home.”
“I was once a struggling single parent and the stress was just too much for me,” said Lilia. “You see, after all the heartache, receiving housing services and support has given me a second chance in life.”
“I have a precious granddaughter who I will get to love and care for because I am in safe and stable home,” said Lilia. “I am here to affirm that funding cuts will have an adverse effect on us, on our children and on our future generations.”