Message to Representative Sires No Cuts to Housing
Lenny Guardino lives in Fairview, New Jersey and is a constituent of Representative Sires (D-NJ-08) will speak at the Congressional Reception. Lenny has a daughter who recently graduated from college and is considering a master’s degree.
When Lenny was 17 years old his father passed away, and his mother moved out of the house to live with her boyfriend at the time. Lenny found himself alone and homeless while he was graduating high school.
In 2008 Lenny was caught trying to break into his mother’s boyfriend’s home and was sent to prison for seven months. While incarcerated Lenny’s mother passed away. Lenny describes having to mourn his mother’s death while in prison as a very difficult and painful experience.
Once he was out of prison Lenny found himself homeless once again, but this time he was also dealing with a drug addiction. Lenny slept in a friend’s garage and was only allowed to come in the house to shower.
After three years of living in those conditions Lenny was connected to Care Plus and Advance Housing whom he credits for saving his life. Lenny was able to find the resources he needed to deal with mental health issues and the death of his mother. Lenny says he no longer worries about the passing of his mother, because “now she lives in my heart.”
Lenny has not relapsed on alcohol in two years and has been drug free for four years. Advance Housing manages his finances so that he faces less temptation to relapse, and he has been very successful thus far on his journey to living a sober life.
Advance Housing also provides him with housing, psychotherapy, and access to healthcare. Lenny stresses that he believes he would die if he were to ever be homeless again. Lenny’s mental health also prevents him from maintaining a stable job as he is on Social Security Disability. Without access to programs like Advance Housing, Lenny does not believe he would have been able to make the progress he has made so far.
Lenny would like to urge Representative Sires and his colleagues to stop making cuts to affordable housing programs. He does not believe he would be alive if it were not for stable housing that has supported his recovery.
Lenny also stated that he would like employees of organizations like Advanced Housing to be offered more competitive salaries. He believes that he would have been further along on his journey to recovery if he had not lost so many of his counselors who left in search of jobs with better pay.
Lenny concludes, “I want to come to D.C. and say thank you to Advance Housing. There are miracles happening every year.”
To hear more on Lenny’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 a solvable 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.