Irma Hamid felt trapped, living in a tiny one-bedroom apartment with her three children in a Paterson neighborhood where drug dealing and shootings were commonplace.
“It was like being in a cage. I didn’t want that for my kids. I wanted something better,” said Hamid, who was struggling with health problems, including depression, asthma and high blood pressure.
The Mental Health Association in Passaic County in 2008 put Hamid in touch with NewBridge Services. A NewBridge social worker visited Hamid at her apartment and arranged for the family to move into its Clifton Family Housing, a two-family house serving families in which a parent has a mental illness.
Hamid and her children moved into a spacious three-bedroom apartment in a quiet neighborhood. “I love it! It’s so peaceful,” said the 48 year old, who receives federal rental assistance. “I can go out without worrying that someone is going to hurt me or any of my kids.”
Hamid’s sons and daughter had to get used to the quiet, but they came to appreciate their new home – especially the added space, she said.
The Clifton Family Housing has been so successful that NewBridge, in partnership with the Mental Health Association in Passaic County, is adding six more units.
I believe in NewBridge because…if it weren’t for them, I would still be living in that hellhole. I love my apartment and I hope I can stay here forever.
NewBridge Services, a 501c(3) nonprofit, is a premier provider of counseling services, housing and educational programs in northern New Jersey serving 10,000 adults and seniors last year alone. NewBridge treats mental illnesses and addictions; teaches skills for coping with stress, grief and challenging relationships; builds and manages affordable housing; offers school-based programs that teach children and adolescents resiliency skills for healthy emotional development; helps young adults succeed in their education and prepare for careers; and supports seniors so they can remain independent. Throughout its more than 50-year history, NewBridge has remained true to its mission of bringing balance to people’s lives by tracking shifts in communities’ needs and providing innovative, effective programs to meet them.