Serving a Vulnerable Community: The Apostles’ House Offers its Clients Food, Shelter and Life Skills
Religious institutions are traditionally concerned primarily with matters of the soul. Several decades ago, however, five Newark-area Episcopal churches recognized that the growing number of hungry and homeless people required physical as well as spiritual nourishment. They got together and in 1982 established The Apostles’ House, a comprehensive social-services organization.
According to Emergency Shelter Manager Victoria Griffith, “Our mission is to help our residents achieve self-sufficiency. While they are staying in our shelter, they are also attending classes in financial literacy, job readiness, mental wellness, anger management and more.”
The typical stay in the shelter is three to six months. Griffith says, “We work with landlords and management companies to find our residents more permanent housing. Obviously, they need to have a job first, so they need to spend some time with us getting back on their feet.”
The Apostles’ House shelter is for women and children only (boys can stay until they are 13). Staff members do activities with pre-school age children while their mothers are attending classes.
In addition to its shelter, The Apostles’ House offers transitional housing. These are individual apartments with their own kitchens and bathrooms, where husbands, wives and children stay together. Griffith notes that transitional housing program serves a different population from the shelters.
Not all of The Apostles’ House clients are homeless, but all are in need. Griffith estimates that the food pantry serves over 300 clients each month; the food is donated by individuals as well as area supermarkets and other companies. She adds that the clothing pantry serves roughly 100 people each month.
Griffith concludes, “The Apostles’ House is much more than a place to sleep. Our clients come to us broken and beaten down, and we help them build themselves back up."
The Apostles’ House
24 Grant Street, Newark