Fighting for a Place to Call Home to End Homelessness in America Was the Message to Congressman Josh Gottheimer
At the July 26, 2017 Congressional Reception, Margurite Masse, a resident of Bogota and a constituent of Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-5) addressed the audience of over 450 New Jerseyans about the importance of A Place to Call Home if we are going to end homelessness.
Almost 20 constituents of Congressman Josh Gottheimer’s attended the Congressional Reception. Congressman Josh Gottheimer was unable to join them at the Reception.
“I once had careers in the theater, public relations and law,” Marguerite Masse told the audience. “And then I became homeless due to a variety of factors namely a mental illness. After two years of homelessness in three states, living behind gas stations, in homeless shelters.”
“The Alliance Against Homelessness took me out of the hospital and gave me stability with permanent, affordable housing – a place to heal and recover from my illness,” said Marguerite.
“Today I am a substitute teacher. I’m a freelance journalist and my plays are being read by professional actors in New York,” Marguerite continued. “I attend the theatre and ballet and art museums. I am thriving and succeeding after having a stable home life once again.”
“I urge you to fight for affordable housing to help end homelessness in America today,” said Marguerite. “The only way anyone can ever recover from homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse or poverty is through permanent, stable affordable housing – a place to call home.”
Federally funded public housing helped Margurite remain in recovery from mental illness, move out of homelessness, and stabilize her life. She says “I have been helped so much by public housing. I have been able to stabilize my life.”
Marguerite says that once she moved into affordable housing, she has “Been able to recover and get back to life and work.” She is especially grateful for affordable housing because she worries that now that she is older, without affordable housing, she would “fall through the cracks.” She has become an advocate and is now working. Affordable housing allows people to get and maintain employment.
Marguerite advocates for funding for affordable housing, including public housing, and opposes cuts to housing.
Marguerite says that our elected officials in Washington need to work on expanding permanent and affordable housing. She points out that the shelter system can provided only limited assistance because many shelters limit the total length of time that an individual can stay in the shelter. Once the maximum number of days has been reached, individuals experiencing homelessness can be back on the streets once again.
Marguerite says that we can “end homelessness by getting people back into affordable housing.” Without affordable housing, it is “impossible to climb out of homelessness.”
Marguerite knows that proposed cuts to federal housing funding could take away her independence.
Monarch Housing was joined by 38 partner organizations in planning and supporting NJ Hill Day.
The video was taken by Jay Everett of Monarch Housing.