During a visit to HomeFront, a homeless shelter in Mercer County – Governor Christie signed an executive order to establish the Inter-Agency Council on Homelessness.

He says, “what we want to try to do is as best as we can, to, over the next 10 years, to end homelessness in New Jersey…it’s a step towards talking about this out loud – homelessness is one of those things that people don’t like to talk about…it is a failure, and we need to do better.”

When you think of the homeless, you might imagine a hobo, but some of the clients at HomeFront aren’t even adults.

Shannon is 16-years-old, she has a nine-month-old baby named Kylie, and she’s homeless.

“It’s a long line of being evicted having nowhere else to stay, jumping from place to place,” she says. “We never really found that home – that forever home where you’re safe.”

But instead of complaining or brooding about her situation, Shannon is studying – to get into Mercer Community College.

“I like the challenge,” she says, “it’s the thrill of being able to come home – after getting my GED and knowing somebody depends on me…if somebody’s depending on you, it makes you try – a million times harder.”

She says her experience at HomeFront has been very positive.

“There’s classes that are mandatory that help a lot – like parenting, life skills,” says Shannon, “it’s kind of like a big family here and they help – if I have trouble with my daughter – some of the other ladies come and help – if they have trouble with their kids, I come and help…we’re all going through the same thing.”

Her dream is “someday I hope to become a nurse – hopefully…my grandma was a nurse her whole life -and also it’s an in-demand job and nursing is never going to go away- everybody is going to need a nurse – and then that creates stability for me and my daughter…being homeless may be stressful, it may be hard, but in the end it’s beatable.”



Courtesy Governor’s Office