Single Woman Relies on Food Support for Stability

Susan regularly uses Beth-El Center's Soup Kitchen to supplement her food needs. She takes a bus from her apartment almost daily to get the hot lunch and a bagged meal- to-go that Beth- El Center offers.

Susan is back on her feet now but when times were tough, the Beth-El Center was there to assist her.

For years, Susan took care of her ailing grandmother and lived with her in West Haven for nine years. Susan gave up her pursuit of a nursing career to take care of her. When her beloved grandmother passed away, she left Susan her house. But Susan was unable to afford the taxes and bills associated with the house so she had to sell it. Because her grandmother had taken out a reverse mortgage on the house, Susan ended up with nothing.

Susan lived at a hotel for a while but when her money ran out she ended up homeless. She lived unsheltered for a whole year with her dog Daisy. She lived in fear so when she was approached by Beth-El Center's Outreach Case Manager Liz Zeilik, she was ready to move out of the homeless encampment.

"I was scared for myself and my dog Daisy. I always need to be sure she was warm enough and had water," says Susan.

Liz had provided Susan with some essentials like food and clothing. Liz also helped her get connected to benefits, like SNAP assistance. She then referred her to a housing specialist at Columbus House. Susan qualified for Rapid Re-housing, a program that provides short-term rental assistance and services to help people obtain housing quickly and stay housed.

Susan now resides in her own apartment. With the help of some generous donors, Liz was able to help Susan get some necessities like a mattress and an air conditioner.

Susan is dealing with some medical issue so she's currently unemployed. She receives SNAP benefits but with the current increases in the price of food, they don't go very far.

"With my current situation of no income, I really depend on the meals that Beth-El's Soup Kitchen offers," says Susan. "I take a bus to the Center almost daily because the food is so great and the people are so supportive. Liz, Jenn and Carolyn have helped me so much. If it wasn't for the Center I'd probably still be living outside. The staff at the Beth El Center want to help and they really care about people."

Susan is currently enrolled in a job program to help her find employment. In the meantime, she's one of many who rely on food support in order to remain stable and maintain her permanent housing.

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