As the board chair of the area’s only homeless shelter for children and their families, I want to let you know that Lucy’s Hearth in Middletown needs the community’s support now more than ever.
Before COVID sent the world into a tailspin, the severe shortage of affordable housing was deeply impacting the ability of many families to find a suitable place to live. And now that COVID is upon us, Lucy’s Hearth is filled to capacity with families who are struggling to keep safe while they search for permanent housing. The challenges these families, and the heroic Lucy’s staff, face are daunting.
The building must be professionally disinfected weekly, which is costly. All common areas, where kids could normally gather, are closed. All congregate meal cooking has been curtailed. Mandatory masking and all COVID protocols are in full force. All volunteer programs, including my weekly guitar class for the kids, are on hiatus. 60% of Lucy’s residents range from newborns to age 17, so the kids have been especially impacted.
In late summer, when COVID infected some fully-vaccinated members of my immediate family, including my unvaccinated young grandchildren, I held my breath and hoped for the best. But because they were able to isolate in the comfort of their own home, this was thankfully just an inconvenience and everyone recovered. When a COVID case arises at Lucy’s, because the state has closed its quarantine facility, the family must be quarantined at Lucy’s, which puts added stress on staff and on all the families. Can you imagine what that would be like?
Despite all these challenges, Lucy’s Hearth continues to do great work and get exemplary results! We deliver interventions to help our families heal from trauma, gain self-sufficiency skills and end the cycle of homelessness. We offer parenting classes, financial literacy instruction, job interview preparation, children’s activities and have a housing navigator who helps our families find permanent housing. And this year, 20 of our families exited Lucy’s to permanent housing and 9 families went on to temporary housing. But there’s still much work to be done.
People often ask me how they can help. On Wednesday, November 10 at 5:30 pm, we’re having our annual fundraiser, Fall For Lucy’s Hearth, virtually this year.
You’ll learn more about the wonderful work being done at Lucy’s, hear some first-hand success stories and get to bid on some fabulous silent auction items. Please help us continue to give these kids and families a fighting chance at finding a place to live.
Please visit lucyshearth.org to learn more and to register for our wonderful November 10 event.
Mark Gorman, Newport