One afternoon, JusticeWorks YouthCare received a request from Westmoreland County Children’s Bureau to assist a homeless family with obtaining housing to prevent placement of the children. The family consisted of a hard-working single mother and her five small children, as well as an adult daughter and her paramour, who were expecting their second child within a few months. Fleeing domestic violence, the family had very few possessions and faced being split up if safe, permanent housing was not secured. Our goal was clear: assist the family with obtaining a fresh start.
Family Resource Specialist, Jonathan Fornal, initially met with the family in their hotel room and worked to navigate through community resources that would assist the family. Jonathan worked quickly to find a home for the expecting young couple, assisted with locating home goods and furniture, and, when the time came, personally transported the family and their new belongings to the new home. Resources were also put in place to ensure the young couple had a strong support system when their second child was born.
At this time, a second worker, Amber Leonard, was assigned to the case and worked with the family to secure a home for mom and her small children. Amber escorted the family to a local housing complex and was able to obtain housing that same day. Mom was also connected with a local mental health provider that specializes in the effects of domestic abuse.
Once housing was secured, the assigned county caseworker notified us that the case would be successfully discharged as it would otherwise be opened for treatment, which the caseworker did not feel was necessary as the family had established a strong support system. Despite an already significant amount of progress, Amber wanted to make sure the family was FULLY established before the case was closed. So, the weekend before the scheduled close-out date, Amber personally collected used furniture, toys, and housing items and spent the last two days of services ensuring that the family had all the necessary items before the case was discharged. Upon discharge, Amber also connected the family with local charities to ensure they were able to obtain any additional home items they may need.
Because of Jonathan and Amber’s hard work and refusal to accept anything less than success, this family, like many others we serve, has remained intact and is now happily at home. A sincere thank you to Jonathan Fornal, Amber Leonard, and everyone on Team JusticeWorks who practices what we preach: WHATEVER IT TAKES!!!