Asbury Park-based Mercy Center recently learned that it was the winner of Jersey Coast Impact 100’s competitive grant process. Mercy Center will receive one of four grants of $100,000 for its “Housing Matters” program to “fill the funding gap” to help up to 50 single mothers, who have not been victims of domestic violence.
Mercy Center, founded by the Sisters of Mercy, provides programs and services that empower, enrich and educate people facing socioeconomic challenges to realize their full potential, with a special emphasis on women and children.
“Single moms are the largest group that come to us at Mercy Center looking for help. They are desperate. They are deeply in debt. Those who are working are living paycheck to paycheck. They struggle to afford child care so they can work. They are homeless or one step away from it,” Kim Guadagno, Mercy Center’s executive director, said. “Thanks to Jersey Coast Impact 100, Mercy Center will now be able to assist these mothers, not just the women who are domestic violence victims.”
So far this year alone, Mercy Center has served more than 300 single mothers — single mothers who are survivors of domestic or sexual violence. But, until now, Mercy Center’s funding required these women to be victims of domestic violence to receive services, including emergency shelter, and utility and rental assistance. Sadly, women who did not meet this requirement were turned away.
“After years of experience helping women, Mercy Center has all the tools to help — a housing navigator, social workers, trauma counseling, immigration guidance and other related services. We provide this help in four languages,” Guadagno added. “This funding from Jersey Coast Impact 100 is a godsend, and it will provide immediate housing assistance along with personalized solutions to help up to 50 single moms and their children who were previously ineligible for this assistance.”
“The Jersey Coast Impact 100 grant will change the lives of so many women and their children. On behalf of everyone at Mercy Center, thank you to all the women who took the time to vote for Mercy Center. Please know we will be good stewards of the funds, and we will use it to do God’s work by empowering our neighbors in need during crisis when they need us most,” the Hon. Mary Catherine Cuff, Mercy Center’s board chair and former presiding judge of the Appellate Division, New Jersey, said.