New Reach and United Way team up to get New Haven family a new home for the holidays


A New Haven mother who was sleeping in her car is now in a new apartment with her three children just in time for Christmas. It’s all thanks to help from a partnership between two local family organizations.

Zelema Harris was working a job, barely making ends meet, and forced to sleep in her car, all while her three daughters ages 16, 7, and 5 were sleeping at their grandparent’s house.

In November, she realized she needed to do something, and called 2-1-1. That’s how she connected with the Non-Profit, New Reach.

Through their diversion program, she was able to avoid staying in a shelter, and they quickly moved them into a home in the Newhallville section of New Haven.

Harris is so grateful, she was brought to tears remembering the moment they moved in.

I cried I was in tears because this was something we’d been waiting for. So when you get that. All I could is thank God because you just don’t know. I’m in adult. I can deal with me, but they still have to grow.

New Reach as helped more than 4,000 men, women, and children this past year who were either homeless or close to becoming homeless. The Harris family was helped through their new program called diversion; where families are diverted directly into housing so they never have to live in a shelter.

So far, the diversion program has helped more than 500 hundred families.

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