A Fresh Start for One NYC Family

In 2009, Shari Robeck had a job that provided a comfortable life for herself and her family. Then, a quick succession of hardships-- including serious health issues combined with loss of her job and home--resulted in Shari having to enter the New York City shelter system with two young children in tow. “You feel like a lost soul," she says."You bring your kids, with no idea where you’re going.”

Suddenly a homeless single parent, Shari sought out permanent housing while looking for ways to keep her children engaged and active despite being in the shelter. Summer camp had always been part of her kids’ lives, and Shari was determined to maintain this outlet. 

In 2011, CSS's Income Support Services drew on NY Times Neediest Cases funds to make summer camp possible. Meanwhile, Shari’s search for housing continued, as did her efforts to engage her children in school and sports activities.

“Across the street from the shelter was a recreation center with computers, Ping Pong, indoor basketball," says Shari. "I even got into the van with the kids and the coach when we went to play other teams. I tried everything to create some normalcy for my kids.” 

Then, this past summer, she contacted CSS with "wonderful news." She and her children had moved into a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) apartment.  "I am so grateful to have a home for my children after so many years. It’s a dream come true," she wrote, adding, "I am very grateful to CSS for all of their support during our difficult journey of homelessness."

Of her new neighbors in the NYCHA development where she lives, Shari says: “There are teachers, city workers, people of every kind of background living here. The bottom line is, people here are working hard to keep a roof over their heads.”

We wish all the best to Shari and her children.  Learn more about the challenges facing NYCHA and the important role of public housing as a resource for the city’s struggling families.

The New York Times has sponsored the annual Neediest Cases Fund to raise money for low-income children, families, adults, and individuals with disabilities at seven major New York City nonprofits. CSS is fortunate to be one of the recipient agencies

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