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Meet Ms. Denise, age 51. Follow her journey as she shares how she went from a shelter to stable living. At a young age, Ms. Denise remembers leaving her home to start a life in the city of Elizabeth. Life on her own proved to be difficult so she sought shelter at the YMCA.  It would be a few months before she was able to move out of the shelter and into transitional housing. However, tragedy called her back to Plainfield, NJ. She discovered that her mom was ill and returned to her side to care for her. Ms. Denise recalls hearing about Homefirst from her sister. “My sister was a client of Homefirst. She has HIV. I came here because I knew they could help me with a low-rental apartment.” Homefirst was able to deliver on that vision and moved her into permanent housing where she has resided for 8 years this year. One highlight of Homefirst is the ongoing benefit that continues far beyond the initial meeting. Currently disabled, Ms. Denise revealed that she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis to the point of hospitalization on some days. Homefirst was able to rise to the occasion and arrange transportation for her doctor’s appointments. “They provide medical transportation to take me to the doctor.” There is also a dedicated property manager to tend to apartment related matters. “I reach out when I need something done around the apartment…I talk to her twice a month.” Ms. Denise has been able to thrive with assistance from Homefirst. Reflecting on the organization, her sentiment is “It’s a beautiful program.”


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