Stories of Support, Hope & Change

Helping a Homeless Family

Homeless families are a heartbreaking tragedy that we see too often. Sandra, a divorced mom, and her two children found themselves in dire circumstances. Due to loss of income, she was evicted from her apartment and staying with relatives under strained conditions. Sandra was in a grim situation when she was finally referred to the Beth-El Center.

Beth-El Center provided Sandra, her 14 year old daughter and 9 year old son with shelter, food and a safe environment. With limited income and English as her second language, Sandra had many obstacles to overcome in order to move forward.

Support, Resources and Services

During her extended stay at the Beth-El Center, our trained staff provided Sandra with ongoing guidance and direction. After such turmoil in her life, Sandra's challenges filled her with despair and little hope. She accepted the full assistance of her case manager, Deb Moffa, who helped her find her self-worth and set her on a path to lead a stable, independent life.

"My case manager at Beth-El told me not to give up. For my children, I had to keep fighting," says Sandra.

To start, Sandra secured benefits such as food stamps and child support. She worked with Goodwill's career center employment services where she learned how to create a resume and apply for jobs. She qualified for services with the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services who offered Sandra further job search assistance.

Beth-El's food pantry provided Sandra and her family with food for her to cook with in the shelter kitchen. She also participated in the Grow! Truck, a mobile food pantry that gave her an allotment of fresh food and workshops that taught her and her family about nutrition and healthy eating.
During their stay at the Beth-El Center, Sandra's children were able to remain in their respective schools and were provided with transportation. The family engaged in therapy and support activities including dinner and discussion with Milford Youth and Family Services to get them through the difficulties they faced during this time of transition.

Sandra also utilized ESL services that provided assistance in learning the English language through Literacy Volunteers of Southern Connecticut. With the help of a literacy tutor, she gained verbal and written skillsĀ  necessary to advocate for herself and her children, providing her the additional tools necessary to achieve her independence.

Moving Forward

Our staff assisted Sandra in her efforts to secure an apartment through permanent supportive housing where she's now on a path to long term stability for herself and her children. "When I had nowhere to go, Beth-El became my family," says Sandra. "Beth-El really saved me and my children."

When families have no one to turn to, the Beth-El Center offers a comprehensive solution to help turn around or restart their lives. We strive to keep families together in a confidential, safe and stable environment and offer the support and services to propel them forward. You can help by making a donation to Beth-El Center today!

A Young Mother and her Son: Learning to Live Independently

Programs and resources offered at the Beth-El Center can provide much needed educational, financial and nutritional benefits to residents like Elisandra. A 21 year old single mother of a toddler, Elisandra is eager to learn how to live independently. With few examples in her life to follow and learn from, she's using the resources at the Beth-El Center to help her pave the way to a stable life.

Elisandra and her 18-month old son Felix arrived at the Beth-El Center in June of 2016. She became homeless in November 2015 after being evicted from her apartment. When Elisandra arrived at the Beth-El Center, she had very little emotional or financial support from her family and was not attached to any community services.

With the assistance of her case manager, Craig Wainwright, Elisandra has laid out the goals she intends to achieve while at Beth-El. In addition to finding housing and stable child care, she opened a bank account and is learning how to budget and save money for the long term.

Elisandra is working diligently to get on her feet and is now employed full time on a production line at a local manufacturing company.

"With the obstacles that Elisandra has faced as a young, single mother with very little family support, she has shown strength, courage and a determination to succeed," says Craig. "She is a great mom and her and Felix have been a pleasure to have here at the Beth El Center."

Elisandra receives assistance from programs offered by the Beth-El Center including the bi-weekly GROW! Truck. In addition to participating in educational classes, Elisandra and her son are provided with fresh, nutritional food. The GROW! Truck, a partnership with the Connecticut Food Bank, is a customized, refrigerated vehicle with shelves loaded with items such as fruits vegetables, fish, meat and shelf-stable foods. Families enrolled in the program attend a nutrition or financial education workshop before boarding the truck to "shop" for food. With the Grow! Truck Elisandra is able to reduce her food bill each month, enabling her to save money and take care of other financial responsibilities.

According to Elisandra, "I appreciate all of the help that I have received from Beth El. It has been a good experience for me and my son."

Positive Changes for a Mother and Child

Upon entering the Beth-El Center, Linda*, a 21 single mother of an 18 month old daughter, was unemployed and homeless.

Based on a written plan that Linda and her case manager developed, she focused on obtaining employment, saving money, paying off debt and finding affordable housing.

With her case manager's assistance, Linda began searching for employment. She had her Certified Nursing Assistant license and was able to secure a job with the assistance of the Goodwill Career Center and CT Works. Once she began working, Linda starting paying off delinquent bills and opened a bank account to save for her new apartment.

Linda's Beth-El case manager helped her apply to Care4Kids to receive childcare assistance and once she was approved she secured daycare in New Haven for her daughter.

Beth-El referred Linda to the CT Rapid Re-Housing Program for an affordable housing search and rental assistance. Linda was approved for assistance and found a two bedroom rental in New Haven where she now lives with her daughter.

Ending Recurring Homelessness

Ralph is a 57 year old chronically homeless individual who, before coming to the Beth-El Center, had been sleeping outdoors in New Haven. He had been staying in shelters and places not meant for habitation on and off for the last four years.

Due to his history of chronic homelessness as well as years of battling drug addiction, the case manager at the Beth-El Center informed Ralph that he was eligible to apply for supportive housing. Supportive housing combines affordable housing with other services to help people who face complex challenges.

While at Beth-El, Ralph was able to remain clean and sober and attended daily outpatient substance abuse counseling programs in New Haven. While working on his recovery and housing, Ralph made time to visit his mother in senior housing in New Haven, go grocery shopping for her and help her out when she needed him.

While at Beth-El, Ralph received a voucher for permanent supportive housing, and after viewing several housing locations, was able to secure an apartment in West Haven.

*names have been changed to protect privacy

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