Family Promise of Union County Helps Families Facing Homelessness Put Their Lives Back Together
On December 4, 2017, The New York Times ran a story “Dealing With the Grief That Accompanies about Homelessness” about Family Promise of Union County.
“When you are homeless, you really get to know who your friends are,” one of the women, Ingrid Charlery, said. “A lot of people disappeared.”
“At times I felt myself wanting to be alone,” said Simeria Dewalt, another of the women. When a volunteer encouraged her to come out of her room, Ms. Dewalt said she wasn’t ready to talk. “I really just wanted to say, ‘Just pray for me.'”
Family Promise recognizes the importance of recognizing the grief that can come with losing housing. Family Promise’s first “Loss, Grief and Homelessness” workshop was a part of the national group’s push to help people work through that grief.
“Connie Palmer, who led the workshop, is the clinical training director at Imagine. With a box of dominoes, she told a story about a working woman (she pointed to one domino), her husband (she pointed to another), and two children, one doing O.K. in school, one with anxiety and depression (each another domino). She pointed to dominoes for community and neighborhood and recreational activities, and a home. Suddenly, she dropped the box.
“And right in the midst of life, my husband loses his job, and I lose my job, and within a couple months we lose our home,” she said.”
Simeria Dewalt, 35, lives with her four children, ages 18, 17, 10 and 9 in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
In July 2017, Simeria traveled to Washington, DC with over 450 other New Jersey constituents for the Congressional Reception. At the Congressional Reception, Simeria addressed the audience and her Congressman Albio Sires (D-8.)
“As I stand here today, I can say that I have housing but I am here standing for those who don’t,” said Simeria. She rents her own apartment with assistance from a Section 8 voucher.
Simeria shared the success that she has achieved in her life, “In September, I will be starting college and I am so grateful that I am standing here today.”
Affordable housing makes a big impact on Simeria’s family’s life. She told us that she wonders, without housing, “where would we be?” Simeria describes the day that she received housing as a “breath of fresh air.”
Says Simeria, “There really are people out there who need affordable housing.” She says, “It is very important that other people get the housing that they need.” She says, “Being stable is very important. If you are not stable, you cannot do the normal things that people do in society.”
Simeria is concerned about proposed cuts because “If funding wasn’t in place, I would not be where I am today.”
Over the past 5years, Simeria accomplished a great deal. Says Simeria, “I want to help others as I have been helped.”
This article is an excellent example of the homeless crisis in our county and the good work of Family Promise and other agencies.
Family Promise of Union County is one of Monarch’s six partners in the planning for the second annual Homeless Sabbath Weekend in Union County taking place December 15-17, 2017 and the “Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day Vigil” on Thursday, December 21, 2017 hosted by First Presbyterian Church, 11 Springfield Ave. in Cranford at 7:00 p.m.