It was the middle of August, 2017, and my three kids and I were homeless. That whole year was rough; we had been spending nights on the street, wandering around the streets of Newport during the day, not sure of where to turn for help, until someone told me Brighton Center could help with clothing and food. I met with Tiffany Neri at the Family Center, and she started guiding me to the right places and resources to get me back on my feet.

It’s not easy being a single dad of three. You don’t get as much help. I make too much money at my job to qualify for food stamps, but I’m not eligible for child support. I’m teaching myself the roles of being both a mom and a dad to my kids – learning to be patient, to listen, and be more sensitive while giving them structure, guidance, and discipline.

On top of making sure my kids and I had our basic needs met, Tiffany helped me sign up for Brighton Center’s Rapid Rehousing program. Amazingly, within two months, I was lucky enough to sign the lease to my new apartment on Christmas Eve. It was such a great Christmas present.

Brighton Center helped me overcome food and housing insecurity. The staff helped me provide stability for my kids. We’re now able to have a home. We can go outside and toss a football. I just taught my son how to ride his bike. My kids have so many new friends in our new neighborhood – where before, they were isolated. They can grow, learn, and express themselves with kids their own age. I’ve learned how to be the responsible man and father my kids need; keeping myself on the right path and not just living in survival mode. I can think through problems more clearly now, and provide for my family. Brighton Center helped me grow and mature in a big way. Without the help I received, I might have lost my kids to the system.

I have gained new confidence in my ability to be a parent, as well as the tools to establish goals and the courage to achieve them. Tiffany also helped me sign up for the Individual Development Account, which will match what I’m able to save so I can buy a car.

My life has changed so much since I met Tiffany with Brighton Center. I don’t worry anymore about my kids ending up in an adoption agency, because I have the resources to give them a home and the courage to raise them the right way. To those who might be afraid of reaching out, Brighton Center will be there, ready to meet you where you are. Do the work in your program, and they will work with you. 11

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