Gina Cruz
At 32, Gina Cruz is a survivor of domestic violence and a recovering addict. She now has two girls that she is raising on her own and being able to put a roof over their heads is a vital part of that process.

Recovery Act Impact: Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program

  • Total stimulus funding: $18.4 million

  • Served over 2,000 households

  • Helped 2,403 people with some form of rental assistance

  • Helped 3,166 people with case management.

When Cruz fell on hard times recently a homeless shelter seemed like her only option. Fortunately stimulus funding that was provided to the New England Farm Worker's Council through the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing fund ensured that Cruz and her daughters have a place they call home.

Cruz works at Dunkin Donuts but her salary could not cover the rent of an apartment in the Holyoke area, where she lives. She and her daughters were living with her brother in law but Cruz said it was a bad environment for her and her daughters and she knew they had to find a place of their own.

Gina Cruz
"I went to the homeless program [at New England Farm Worker's Council] and I told them I was going to become homeless," she said. "I couldn't see going to a shelter. I'm a single mom with two little girls."

New England Farm Worker's Council received $755K in stimulus funds for its homeless program and, as someone who was employed, Cruz was a perfect candidate for the program. But she needed to find a viable apartment and that, she said, proved to be very difficult. "Every day, I was on the computer, getting rejected by landlords or finding apartments that were too expensive. I was ready to give up. But I was very persistent."

Gina Cruz with Jeffrey Simon and Tamara Correa
Eventually, Cruz found a suitable apartment and the New England Farm Worker's Council pays a portion of her rent. "It helps a lot," she said. "They've done so much for me and my children. We can sit at my kitchen table with my family. We have stability. We have a place to call home."

Cruz is also working towards her GED and hopes to attend college. "I have a lot of goals and ambitions," she said. "I am not going to let other people do this for me but without their funding I wouldn't be a success story."