July 17, 2014 at 9:10 AM
Homefirst Inc. set records in 2013 by servicing nearly 2,000 individuals with housing assistance and social services. The organization, based in Plainfield, NJ, took to the forefront in addressing Plainfield’s 15.9 percent poverty rate. Homefirst strongly believes that the first step to empowering a poverty stricken family is to provide them with safe and affordable housing. The organization provides transitional, supportive and permanent housing to families in need, all of which are managed and owned by Homefirst, Inc.
“The cornerstone of our work is to provide the homeless with a permanent home creating a stable foundation for each family,” says Ellen McGovern, executive director of Homefirst, Inc. “Once a family is placed in safe, decent housing they can afford – Homefirst is able to coordinate service delivery along a continuum of care that includes health care, financial planning, education, quality childcare and other support programs aimed at expanding opportunities,” she added.
Through its Family Success Center, the organization provides programs that focus on parent/child strengthening, financial literacy, employment readiness and health and wellness. Homefirst also advocates for youth through their Youth Success Center. This program empowers youth to transition into adulthood while building strong peer relationships. Topics of nutrition, healthy eating and cooking are also a concern of the organization. Homefirst developed two community gardens in Plainfield and Scotch Plains that in 2013 produced an excess of 850 pounds of fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs that were distributed to 150 families in need.
“We are a small staff and rely heavily on our partners and volunteers for support,” McGovern noted. The organization partners with religious congregations, community groups, service clubs, local businesses, foundations, government agencies, and private citizens in and around the Union County area that support their mission. As a result of these partnerships, Homefirst created an annual event entitled, “An Evening of Thanks” to give recognition to the volunteers and partners who tirelessly help families in the community and to raise awareness and resources in support of the Homefirst mission and essential services and programs.
This year’s “An Evening of Thanks” will be held on October 30, 2014 at 6pm at the Galloping Hill Golf Club in Kenilworth, NJ. For more information about this event and how you can support it contact Kathy Higgins at Kathy@homefirstinc.org or visit www.homefirstinc.org.
About Homefirst, Inc.
Homefirst Inc. founded in 1986, began as a small shelter program and three years later expanded into homeless prevention services. Soon after, Homefirst embraced the national Housing First model and began providing housing and family support services. To date, Homefirst has acquired and renovated 51 homes of transitional, supportive, and permanent housing and provides comprehensive homeless prevention emergency assistance and family support services. To learn more about Homefirst, Inc. and its services or how you may help support their mission, please visit www.homefirstinc.org.