Being homeless is rarely a choice, but a result of circumstances. After a time of unemployment and housing instability, Joanne, Joel and their 3 year old daughter found themselves in that place—without a home. With nowhere else to go, the Woonsocket Shelter offered them a safe residence to address the obstacles that got in the way of their obtaining permanent housing.
The Shelter is not just a place to stay, but a program to help families out of a most difficult situation. That’s where Rich Guerra, Woonsocket Shelter Case Manager, and other shelter staff come in. Rich provided much-needed emotional support and helped the family pursue their plan. “We really focused on housing,” said Joanne. But that wasn’t all, as Rich explained, "Joanne and her family persevered as a team, and were open and honest - not just in identifying the difficulties they could easily see, but also in discovering and addressing the hidden stumbling blocks they may have originally overlooked."
As with all residents in the Shelter program, the family received Life Skills training covering home management and budgeting. They gained a better understanding of how much money they were spending on car repairs and other expenses, and, with more stable employment, they were soon able to purchase a reliable vehicle. This enabled the family to meet their shelter payment obligations, open a savings account and save money for an apartment.
At the Community Care Alliance (CCA) Family Support Center, the family also received food, clothing and rental assistance, and access to the local furniture bank. Joanne and Joel’s daughter received speech therapy and other services from CCA’s Early Intervention program in preparation for starting preschool at Head Start. Joanne reports that “It was a really good experience, seeing my daughter make improvements.”
The good news is that this family, with their hard work and the support of the Woonsocket Shelter program, was able to move into their own apartment in early October.