The Importance of McKinney Vento Homeless Grants

Amy Tells Story of Impact of Homelessness in Advance of & Prepares to Share it on July 24

Amy Fennimore, 56 year old, is just one of the hundreds of thousands of people who are impacted by homelessness in the U.S. She was fortunate enough to receive the help she deserves, in part due to funding through the federally funded McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance program. 

Amy lives in Morristown, New Jersey and is a constituent of U.S. Representative Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11.)

On Wednesday, July 24, 2019, Amy will share her story with our elected officials in Washington, D.C. and advocates from New Jersey at the Congressional Reception.

In 2017, after losing her job, Amy left New Jersey for a fresh start in Virginia. When that didn’t work out, she returned to New Jersey to live with family. Unfortunately, the place she thought would be a safe environment quickly turned into an emotionally and physically abusive situation.

Amy knew for her safety she had to make the courageous choice to leave even though she had no place to go. This forced her to spend most of her nights in and out of hotel rooms. She struggled to find work and eventually depleted her savings until she had nothing.

The lack of a safe and stable environment took a toll on Amy’s mental health and wellbeing. She was devastated and lost her self-worth. She knew she needed help. She began calling homeless shelters and was eventually connected with Homeless Solutions, Inc. in Morristown.  Homeless Solutions is one of the thirty-one partners sponsoring and helping to plan this year’s Congressional Reception.

Amy says, “I might not be alive without a shelter… it gave me a safe place to live with staff that cared about me and my success and it helped me to be with others going through the same experience.”

The shelter and its staff assisted Amy in so many ways. They provided her with not only a place to sleep, but also the services she needed to get back on her feet again. It was the support system Amy desperately needed.

Her case manager helped her apply for Medicaid and served as a character reference with court proceedings. She also connected Amy to job support services, the Office of Temporary Assistance in Morris County, and even eye care and chiropractic care.

Amy is working hard to get back on her feet. She has regained her self-confidence and is hopeful to receive a housing choice voucher. Despite her traumatic experiences with homelessness, Amy remains positive and resilient.

Amy is just one. There are hundreds of thousands of more people impacted by homelessness in the U.S. alone. There are more women, children, families, veterans, and people living in the streets, under park benches, fighting to make it another day.

A $2.6 billion increase in funding for the McKinney-Vento Homelessness program can help others like Amy receive the housing services they deserve.  This increase is one of the policy priorities at the July 24 Congressional Reception in Washington, D.C.

To help support this increase in funding, we encourage you to attend the 2019 Congressional Reception on Wednesday, July 24. To learn more or to register for the event, click here.