Megan and her two sons, ages 7 and 8, moved from shelter to shelter for several years without stable housing. She struggled for years with the uncertainty that came with being homeless.
She asked herself, “Where am I going to be in a week? In a month? Where will I work? Where will my kids go to school?”
Megan applied to many different programs seeking assistance with housing and services but was repeatedly turned away and added to a 3-5 year long waiting list. When her boys had to change schools frequently, her family faced many challenges.
Megan says that what bothered her most about being homeless was her family’s lack of choices. She claims, “We shouldn’t have to be shuffled around from place to place. I should have somewhat of a choice as to where my children and I will reside. We are discriminated against and constantly being pushed to different areas, simply because we can’t afford housing. Are you aware of how much this currently impacts my children and will continue to impact my children in the future?”
Eventually, Megan received support from Homeless Solutions. While receiving this support meant moving again, she says “Turning down help is not something I have enough privilege to do.” With an apartment rented with assistance from a federal Section 8 (Housing Choice Program) voucher, she is able to rent her own apartment. Now, Megan feels like she has choices in her life again.
Megan is happy about her family’s new life and housing stability but remains worried about the affordable housing crisis that New Jersey faces. She explains. “There is a plausible solution to all of this. Having more affordable housing opportunities that are actually affordable would undeniably change our society for the better.”
Megan believes that her elected officials must continue to work to fix the affordable housing crisis and end homelessness in New Jersey. She urges her elected officials to increase funding for the Housing Choice Voucher Program and homelessness assistance which will allow organizations like Homeless Solutions to assist more families.
Megan asserts, “People need help up, not handouts.”
On July 25th, a Congressional Reception will be held at the Dirksen Senate Auditorium in Washington D.C. This event will allow New Jersey Residents who are working poor, below the poverty line and or impacted by homelessness to urge their elected officials in Washington to make No Cuts to Housing and remind them that Opportunity Starts at Home.