Matthew Finn was a dedicated and loyal driver with a carrier service for many years, but when his elderly parents became ill, he left his much-loved job to become their full-time caretaker. His dedication to his mother and father took precedence to every other aspect of his life. With their passing, Matthew not only suffered from a broken heart, but he became homeless. Circumstances forced his parents’ home to be sold leaving him with nowhere to go.
Due to his many years as a driver, Matthew is now on disability for severe back issues, which makes finding housing that is affordable a challenge. He spent the years following his parents’ deaths bouncing around from place to place. He was homeless and unable to work. His life was spiraling out of control and he was ultimately hospitalized for his depression and anxiety. Finally, he was able to get the hand up he needed at a non-profit organization out of Morristown, NJ, Homeless Solutions, Inc. (HSI).
The Shelter Plus Care Program, provided through HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), played a crucial role in Matthew’s housing stability, which just fuels his passion for this cause. He so desperately wants his voice to be heard and wants to make an impact so that others who are affected by homelessness do not have to struggle with finding affordable housing.
Wesley Gaynor, Director of Programs & Services at HSI, explains, “Shelter Plus Care and similar programs play a critical role in stabilizing low-income people with a disabling condition. The program helps eligible households to secure and maintain safe, affordable housing; which promotes positive health and educational outcomes. Without such housing assistance, these people face the threat of housing instability and may continue to experience episodes of homelessness”.
Saying “No” to housing cuts and remembering that “Opportunity Starts at Home” is so very important to Matthew. If it weren’t for the Shelter Plus Care Program and for HSI, Matthew, and so many of his peers, would have nowhere to go.
Matthew believes that in order to combat the issue of homelessness there needs to be increased availability access to housing vouchers and more funds available to assist the homeless.
Matthew also states, “I ask my congressman to make more money available for affordable apartment housing.” Although many programs provide temporarily relief to those facing homelessness, there is not much assistance available to help individuals permanently transition from homelessness to stable housing.
Matthew’s story shows how homelessness can come unexpectedly. If you are interested in hearing more about Matthew’s story, you should attend the 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.
We know that by joining together and amplifying our voices, we can have an impact on the decisions that are made in Washington DC. Join Monarch Housing Associates and our 35 partners from New Jersey to make the case that homelessness is solvable a problem. The federal government must be a full partner in ensuring an adequate breadth of services are available to prevent children, people with disabilities, the elderly, and all of our neighbors in NJ from experiencing the homelessness.
Register today to attend the Congressional Reception. Everyone needs to register even if you are traveling on your own.