In blighted areas of Camden and other South Jersey communities, safe and affordable housing is in short supply. The Domenica Foundation partners with local organizations that address this basic need.
Brenda used to sleep in front of the old public library in Camden. “I had some sense of safety because the security guards from the prison would walk around,” she said. She had nothing but clothes on her back.
When someone at Joseph’s House of Camden said to Brenda, “Come in. You can sleep here. You can shower. Do you need soap?” it took her breath away.
“Being able to take a shower is a luxury,” she said. “I am blessed to be one who is able to sleep inside.”
Because she could sleep inside and keep herself clean and neat, Brenda was able to apply for and get a job, working for Amazon four nights a week. Because she was earning money, she secured her own housing. Brenda is on the path to a better future because Joseph’s House interrupted the cycle of mental health challenges, homelessness, and lack of employment that kept her down.
Brenda is just one of the hundreds of residents Joseph’s House of Camden supports every year. In addition to providing a warm bed, a shower with toiletries, and a hot meal, Joseph’s House helps residents address the underlying causes of homelessness. Staff and partner agencies provide counseling, including mental health and recovery support, with referrals to appropriate agencies for more in-depth assistance.
Ten years ago, when Joseph’s House was just an idea in the minds of Father Bob McDermott and members of St. Joseph’s Pro-Cathedral, the first call Father Bob made was to Pepe Piperno. Funds from the Domenica Foundation helped get Joseph’s House off the ground and have supported this work ever since. In addition to annual grants, the Piperno family and Domenica Foundation have provided food, clothing, and other material support to give residents what their need to get their lives back.