A Success Story:
When the staff at Family Promise of Sussex County first met Linda, a 56-year-old single female, she had been living in a local park for over five years. Linda kept her belongings in a tent, hidden in a nearby swamp area any other place that she could find to maintain security and protect the few possessions she had left. Linda lived a life that few could imagine, but Linda’s life didn’t always look this way.
Linda was a strong, self-sufficient woman who was educated, held certificates, and professional licenses. Linda was a proud woman who had always worked hard for all she had. She found it very difficult to reach out and ask for help. Sadly, the life Linda once knew came to a crashing halt after she experienced a traumatic loss. With limited support, Linda found it difficult overcome the crippling series of events that followed. With limited social support and being left vulnerable by her trauma experience, Linda became further victimized after experiencing abusive and neglectful relationships.
Staff at Family Promise of Sussex County had learned about Linda’s living situation. The staff invited Linda into the office and began the work of building trust and allowing Linda the opportunity to tell her story. After months of work, a tearful Linda met with agency staff one winter’s day in 2016 and stated she couldn’t live this way anymore. Linda was assisted in gathering her belongings form the various hiding places and entered the emergency shelter program that night.
It took a lot of work to rebuild Linda’s confidence and break down protective emotional walls that Linda had developed. Linda had experience too much trauma to openly trust and allow people into her inner circle. She remains guarded to this day but also has worked hard to rebuild her life. She engaged in a series of life skill training sessions including money management, credit repair, budgeting and goal setting.
Linda slowly began to integrate herself back into the community, using available resources and seeking opportunities to grow. Linda enrolled in a specialized career training course, in which she completed at top of the class, allowing her to obtain meaningful employment. Linda found housing and soon moved into her own apartment.
To say Linda’s life came full-circle is an understatement. Although Linda is still overcoming barriers, and confronting her past, she continues to thrive. Linda’s story, like many of those we work with at Family Promise of Sussex County, is a story of hope, determination, and strength.
Who is Family Promise:
For twenty years, Family Promise of Sussex County, formerly known as Sussex County Interfaith Hospitality Network, has provided support to homeless families. In our early years, we provided shelter through a small network of churches and host locations. In 2017, we still use this model which has proven to be highly effective and cost efficient. However, we have expanded programming to better address the comprehensive needs of families facing the trauma of homelessness and hunger.
During 2016, the agency provided financial assistance, advocacy, case management, emotional and psychological support and referral services to meet the growing number of families and individuals faced with a housing crisis. Four-hundred twelve intakes were completed, 17 families were provided shelter and meals through our Emergency Shelter Program, 43 homeless men were served in our Men’s Day program, 52 families were provided financial assistance to stabilize their housing and 45 individuals participated in Intensive Case Management services. Our youth group programs provided screening and support to 46 children experiencing the crisis and trauma of homelessness.
How You Can Help:
None of this would be possible without the strong support of our community. It is only through the partnerships that we have developed with our local supporters that we are able to provide such high-quality services to meet the needs of this vulnerable population.
Each year, the agency hosts a gala event which provides the majority of funding to meet the needs of programming. This year’s event will also celebrate our 20th anniversary and will be held at Black Bear Golf Club in Franklin on April 8. Funding received will support the expansion of resources such as our Career Center and other prevention based programs that aim at reducing the risk of homelessness and will help our clients to grow personal assets to achieve a higher level of self-sufficiency and housing stability.
We are inviting you to support this important cause by making a donation to our 20th Anniversary gala event. Together we can bring about sustainable change to end homelessness in Sussex County.