Stories of Change

Top: Tony and his family. Middle: Liudmila and her family. Bottom: Victoriia and her new apartment

Navigating the Complex World of Housing

Navigating the complex world of housing is a daunting task for many, but for newly arrived communities, it can be an overwhelming challenge. Church World Service (CWS) in Jersey City witnesses these struggles firsthand. “Housing is really difficult; we have many cases and not enough houses,” remarks Susy, a case manager at CWS Jersey City. Despite the challenges, CWS is dedicated to supporting these communities through various means, from providing shelter to assisting with essential needs like applying for food stamps and acquiring basic items.

Below we share the inspiring stories of three individuals; Tony, Liudmila and Viktoriia, all from three different parts of the world who have sought refuge and support in housing.

Tony’s journey to the United States was fraught with fear and uncertainty. Fleeing his home to protect his pregnant wife and young daughter, he arrived in Jersey City with little more than hope and his savings. At CWS’s Jersey City office, Tony found a supportive community that helped him secure temporary shelter and navigate his new life. Thanks to the generosity of donors and the unwavering support from CWS, Tony and his family now reside in a safe home in Newark after staying in the shelter for a brief time, “The shelter was a good place for my family. We had electricity, which made us happy. We could also eat well, do our laundry, and stay safe,” reflects Tony. “I hope CWS continues to undertake many projects and help many more people like my family and me.” Currently employed and learning English, Tony is optimistic about his family’s future, with access to healthcare and dreams of a brighter future for his children.

Liudmila and her family faced daily struggles in Cuba, living amidst scarcity and uncertainty. Determined to provide a better life for their daughter, they made the courageous decision to leave their home country. Upon arriving at CWS Jersey office, they were greeted with warmth and compassion. Despite ongoing housing challenges, CWS provided them with temporary shelter and continuous support. “It was the promise of a new beginning, the opportunity to build a better future for my family,” stated Liudmila. As of early 2024, Liudmila and her family remain hopeful. Liudmila dreams of securing employment and watching her daughter pursue her dream of studying medicine.

Viktoriia fled Ukraine with her parents and resettled in New Jersey. Leveraging her sewing skills, she quickly secured employment. Recognizing the significance of stable housing, Viktoriia sought guidance from CWS, leading her to secure an apartment in Weehawken. “Thanks to her diligent work ethic and determination to achieve self-sufficiency in a foreign country, Viktoriia successfully secured employment, saved money and independently rented an apartment,” Susy shared.

CWS’s commitment to assisting these communities extends beyond providing immediate shelter. Our team actively collaborates with landlords in the Jersey City area to facilitate housing solutions. “We have a dedicated team at CWS that works closely with local landlords. Many are willing to collaborate with us, even for clients without work permits, as Tony’s case exemplifies,” shares Susy.

To learn more about the work of CWS Jersey City, visit their website