Last night at our Newark Penn Station outreach we met a family in a heartbreaking situation, here is the story of what lengths it took to love them in their situation. It involved multiple staff and volunteers at The Relief Bus to get them the help they needed. This really shows off the importance that we all play in helping save lives on the streets every time we go out.
Last night when we arrived, we sent volunteers into Penn Station to invite people out and let them know about the services we have on hand. Our volunteers found Tyisha, Mickey, and baby Malaysia and invited them out to the bus. Once at the bus, other volunteers greeted them, offered them a place to sit and served them soup and drinks, while they got me and let me know that they would like to talk to someone for help. I went over, introduced myself, and found out their story: They are legally married and were recently asked to leave the place they were staying because it was too much for the person they were staying with. They spent the entire day at the welfare office trying to get help, but it ended in no answers. They went to Penn Station because they had some family and friends staying there - thus, some type of community and safe haven despite their situation. I tried calling around to all of the resources we have for emergency housing in Newark - to no avail. Yaz, our Director of NJ Outreaches arrived at our location, heard about the predicament, and started calling around too. After and hour of calling and talking to multiple people, I was told that they YMCA wouldn't take anyone - no matter their situation. Yaz, on the other hand, was told to go ahead and show up and see what happens. We prayed for a miracle before they left. Yaz loaded them into his van and took them to the YMCA. When they arrived, they were told multiple times that there was nothing they could do because they didn't have the correct paperwork and vouchers from the city's welfare agency. Yaz pleaded and advocated on their behalf and to the fact that papers or not, should not morally allow a baby on the streets of Newark. Ultimately, Yaz's persistence paid off and they were allowed one night's stay!
At that point, Yaz coordinated with our VP of Outreached, Josiah, to get them a ride to our base in Elizabeth, and a ride on The Relief Bus this morning to NYC. From there they were given all the information they needed and a ticket to the city’s family shelter.
They are currently at NYC’s family shelter's intake center awaiting in-process. This will allow them to receive a place to stay for free while they search for jobs and services to get them back on their feet. Now that they are connected with us, they will be in contact with our licensed Social Worker and Director of Follow-Up Care, Teresa. She will be their go-to contact to get them connected with any future resources as well as answer any questions they might have. She is a superstar! Plus, they will have the opportunity to come to any of our Relief Bus locations in NYC for love, community, and additional help.
Moral of the story: We have a phenomenal team of leaders and volunteer that don't give up on people, no matter how grim the circumstances. Last night and today were a testimony to that fact. Please continue to pray for Tyisha, Mickey, and baby Malaysia as they persist to overcome the odds thrive despite their circumstances.
These things we do…That others may live!