PLAINFIELD, NJ - Meet Sara*, 40 years old and mother of three, ages, 2, 7, and 9. She’s been coming to Homefirst for about 5 years to supplement her food and for activities for her children. Sara stays connected to Homefirst through our regular outreach calls with her Homefirst family support specialist. Before coming to Homefirst, it was a difficult time for her family. Sara recalls her reasons for contacting Homefirst, “I was confused. I didn’t know anyone here and didn’t know how I was going to feed my children at times.” She also shared she was suffering from depression as she didn’t know anyone in Plainfield and didn’t know who to contact for help.
Wile pregnant with her last child, she heard about an agency in “the white house on the corner of Watchung Avenue,” This positive word of mouth in the community brought her to Homefirst for assistance. She was able to get diapers, coats, clothes, and sign-up to receive food. Also, as a parent, she was under intense pressure because, as this was the holiday season, she was unable to buy Christmas presents for her three children. During other holidays, such as Thanksgiving, she was able to come to the center to receive food to prepare a holiday meal for her family. She described the Family Support Center as “a great support system” to get her through the hard times.
To date, she has been able to receive assistance with such items as clothing, food, toys, diapers, coats, and her utility bill. Sara expressed her appreciation for Homefirst’s services, “It’s an excellent program. For those that have really needed it, it helps a lot.” *Client’s identity and privacy is protected.
It is stories and many more like these that help a community grow and prosper.
“Homeless, Not Hopeless” means Homefirst is here to help and provide hope for a brighter future. Homefirst is calling upon all members of our community to help us help our most vulnerable families and the homeless in Union County, NJ. We’ve adjusted our operations to help clients remotely, but the calls for our services have skyrocketed.
For example, many of our families receive government food subsidies but their funds run out before the end of the month, or a single woman with children needs to find shelter because they are escaping domestic violence, or a family is facing eviction because they are out of work and must make a choice of buying food or paying rent.
Our ability to meet the needs of our homeless population and our most vulnerable families is partially met by state and county grants, but in this crisis, it is not enough. That’s why we have established the Homefirst COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to meet the needs of our families.
OUR CORE ACTIVITIES:
Homeless Prevention: provides resources (“where to go” or “how to apply”), including direct financial assistance, to families and individuals facing eviction, foreclosure, or utility shut-off.
Family Support: provides direct support to families such as food, cleaning products, soap, diapers, etc.
Housing Case Management: provides case management and one-on-one counseling to families or victims of domestic violence in our housing programs.
The Homefirst COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund was established to: Supplement our existing emergency direct assistance program; Provide additional food bags or supermarket gift cards to individuals and families in need; and, House families in temporary emergency shelters while Homefirst finds permanent housing.
The Emergency Relief Fund will also make it possible for us to upgrade our technology to handle the higher call volume and protect the confidentiality of our donors.
*Client’s identity and privacy is protected.