Advocacy Committee Goes to Harrisburg!
Project HOME joined with advocates across Pennsylvania to protect General Assistance and fund affordable housing. John Boyd, a Project HOME community member, shared his powerful story at a press conference.
Good afternoon everyone, my name is John Boyd. I am here to express my gratitude and ask for your support to protect General Assistance. I am alive today because General Assistance is supporting my stability and helping me cover the expenses in my new apartment so that I can live independently again.
A little bit about me, I was homeless for 25 years. But my story didn't stop there. I was given a second chance at life. A program by the name of Susquehanna Park helped me to start the recovery process and address my depression. Then, I was moved to another program called New Start for 3 months. After completing the program, I was matched up for my own apartment. My apartment has been a blessing beyond my wildest dreams. Rent is paid through a federal housing program, but without General Assistance I don’t know what I would do to take care of myself.
The $205 a month, I receive from General Assistance pays for my gas and electric bills, my transportation, and allows me to buy toiletries. I get food stamps, but that doesn’t cover soap or laundry detergent.
General Assistance is only a temporary program, but I have a permanent disability. I am unable to work so I applied for Social Security Disability Income two years ago. If I get SSDI, the state of Pennsylvania will be repaid by the Federal Government for the expenses of my General Assistance.
Now that my housing is stable and I have my basic needs met, I am working towards my GED. I’m attending classes and meeting with a tutor. My first test will be later this month so wish me luck! As you can see General Assistance is more than a program to me, it’s a second chance at life and opportunity to feel whole. It gives me the blessing to become stable and meet my most basic needs.
Please work to protect General Assistance, and allow it to continue to go on, so people can have a new start, just like me. Thank you for this opportunity to share my story!
Please help echo his message and contact your Pennsylvania elected officials today.
PS - You can also check you these powerful articles about the importance of General Assistance.
- Breaking Our Fall - Op-Ed by State Treasurer Joe Toresella in the Pittsburg Post Gazette