15 Oct Never Alone with the Care of Homefirst
Imagine having to vacate your home with six children in tow, one with substantial disabilities. Your funds are rapidly diminishing. You try as best as you can to maintain normalcy for your children. The pain, guilt, and embarrassment of this uncontrollable situation weigh on you as you try to explain it to all to them. Where do you turn? What’s next?
Meet Tracey and her husband Jamal and their 7-, 9-, 11-, 14-, 15, and 17-year-old children, one of whom has a genetic disability that impedes his ability to speak. When their landlord threw them out of their apartment after a dispute about shared utility expenses, they moved into a local hotel during the week so that the children could continue going to school, and on the weekends sheltered with a relative willing to share her studio apartment in New York City.
“It was one of the hardest things we ever went through,” Tracey says. “We tried to keep it from the kids as much as possible and it broke my heart to hear them ask ‘Mommy, where are we going to live?’ ‘Mommy, where’s Santa going to bring our toys?’ We felt so alone.”
In the midst of handling this difficult situation, Jamal lost his job. “This devastated my husband,” Tracey says. With this, the high cost of living in a hotel, paying to travel back and forth to New York City for eight people, and handling other living expenses, it didn’t take long before the family’s savings—and their spirits—were depleted.
Just before Christmas, after months of searching, Tracey and Jamal found an apartment able to accommodate their large family, but they didn’t have enough money for the security deposit and first month’s rent. That’s when Tracey finally found her way to Homefirst. Not only did Homefirst provide the security deposit and the first month’s rent, it also gave them a furniture voucher, toys to make Christmas joyous for the children and, most importantly, a vision for a pathway forward.
“Our Homefirst case manager went above and beyond to help us. What they did really touched my heart. I cried like a baby because Homefirst showed us that we were NOT alone,” Tracey says, adding that Homefirst is now part of her extended family. She says the consistent check-ins and referrals from her case manager are her saving grace.
Today the family is happy and secure in their apartment. “When you’re going through something, you feel like no one is there. And what can you do? It’s a lost feeling. I really don’t know what I would have done without Homefirst. I honestly cannot tell you what would have happened to us had Homefirst not been there,” Tracey says.
The truth is, Homefirst would not have been able to be there for Tracey and other individuals and families facing similar hardships without the generous donations we receive from people like you. You make it possible for Homefirst to be an advocate to help individuals and families navigate through difficult times. Your donations are much more than dollars. They are life-changing acts of kindness that directly affect the children, parents and individuals Homefirst serves.
We need your donations to continue to be there for people who need us. Consider these facts:
• A $5,000 donation provides the security deposit and first month’s rent a family needs to move into transitional housing and helps with any payments in arrears.
• A $2,500 donation furnishes a home for a family.
• A $1,500 donation pays rent for one month.
• A $1,000 donation supplies case management to a wide range of clients including those who are disabled, formerly homeless, or survivors of domestic violence.
• A $500 donation feeds a family of four for one month.
• A $250 donation heats a family’s apartment for one month.
• A $150 donation supplies supermarket cards to families.
• A $50 donation pays for transportation for parents to commute to work.
On behalf of Homefirst’s Board, staff, volunteers and clients, thank you so much for your support.