New Jersey Substitute Teacher to Speak at Congressional Reception

Nichole Allen

Constituent of Leonard Lance to Speak at Congressional Reception

Nichole Allen will be speaking at the Congressional Reception on Wednesday, July 25th. She lives in the 7th congressional district in Cranford, NJ with her 10 year old son. She works as a substitute teacher and is a constituent of Representative Leonard Lance (R-NJ-7).

Prior to living in Cranford, Nichole and her son lived in Monmouth County in their own home with the help of rental assistance. Nichole moved to Union County to be closer to her support network of relatives and friends. She was unable to transfer her rental assistance to Union County and soon after, it expired.

With no one to take care of her son and no way to afford childcare, Nichole could no longer work full time. She thought she had found an apartment to lease in Union County but, that potential lease fell through, leaving her and her son homeless.

Nichole and her son stayed with a family member for a short period of time. At one point, she even stayed with her mother in senor housing, putting her mother’s housing in jeopardy. She looked to Union County social services looking for help but, was turned away since her rental assistance had expired. They told her that should would not be able to reapply for another year. Instead, Social Services suggested she contact Family Promise Union County Program.

For 9 months, Nichole and her son stayed at a Family Promise shelter. Nichole credits Family Promise with helping her get back on her feet. She claims, “They let you know what you need to do. They got everything from me and my son. When we were in need, they helped us out.”

Family Promise not only provided Nichole and her son with temporary housing but, with the help of HomeFirst, helped her locate comfortable, affordable housing that Nichole could afford.

Now, Nichole lives in subsidized housing in Cranford that is managed by HomeFirst. Family Promise helped Nichole finish college career and get her degree. She explains, “Since Family Promise, I’ve been substitute teaching, I’ve had volunteers to help me finally get my college degree. I was only two classes away.”

Nichole’s story is only one example of the partnership between HomeFirst and Family Promise. This partnership demonstrates that collaborative services can provide a holistic range of support to families.

Nichole thanks God that she was able to connect with Family Promise and HomeFirst. She urges her elected officials, “We need places that don’t just say you need to get yourself together. My recommendation is programs that are well rounded- that provide housing, help you find housing and encourage you. Family Promised helped me find a job and even helped me build a resumé.”

Nichole looks forward to letting her elected officials know that well-rounded programs are key to keeping people out of homelessness. She asks, “How can they help you stay on your feet longer if they just put you out on the street?”

The Union County Program (FPUC) is part of the national Family Promise non-profit, which is located in Union County. It provides a holistic approach, through a comprehensive set of services, to families experiencing homelessness and families at-risk of homelessness in Union County, New Jersey.

If you are passionate about providing affordable housing and ending homelessness in New Jersey, 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.

Click here for more information about the Congressional Reception.

You can also follow @OppStartsatHome in order to learn more about the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Opportunity Starts at Home Campaign.

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