Friends’ Statement:  Our Commitment to Change

Photo Credit:  Jen Samuel MediaNews Group

 Dear Friends Community,

During this time of immense pain, grief and anger, Friends Association stands in solidarity with all Black Americans in the fight for justice.  The dehumanization, criminalization, and murder of Black people are legacies of slavery and white supremacy in the United States.

This racism and oppression has been unveiled in horrifying ways in recent days.  The wave of outrage by non-Black people has finally drawn attention to the profound historic and present-day inequalities that put Black Americans at disproportionate risk of police violence, illness, incarceration, and homelessness.

As a service provider to many Black families in our community, we are reminded daily of the systemic and structural racism and discrimination in housing, education, employment, health care, and in criminal justice and child welfare policies that have led to the over-representation of Black people experiencing homelessness across our country. In Chester County, Black people makeup 6% of the population, but represent 54% of the families we serve in shelter and homelessness prevention.

Our mission of ending homelessness for all families requires us to speak out against institutional and structural racism and to work for racial justice and equity across systems.

We recommit to practicing active anti-racism in all our work.

We recommit to listening and learning with humility.

We recommit to creating safe spaces for our community-employees, supporters, and families- to heal.

We recommit to co-creating innovative ways to empower Black families and other marginalized communities with our programming and to create a platform to amplify their voices and experiences.

We recommit to using our privilege to invoke real change through advocacy for policies that create opportunity for all families to thrive.

As our supporters, we ask that you hold us accountable in this work, support us in this work, and inspire us to do more and to do it better.

Finally, please join us in supporting organizations like Black Lives MatterNAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the Workers Center for Racial Justice.

 

With deep humility,

Jennifer Lopez, Executive Director, Signature
Jennifer Lopez
Executive Director
Matthew Holliday, Board President, Signature
Matthew Holliday
Board President
Jennifer Lopez, Executive Director, Signature
Jennifer Lopez
Executive Director
Matthew Holliday, Board President, Signature
Matthew Holliday
Board President

It Starts With A Home

Friends Association provides emergency shelter and prevention services using a two-generation approach for families facing homelessness or housing instability in Chester County. We know that the journey home starts with housing, but that’s just the beginning.  Friends builds family well-being by providing opportunities for and meeting the needs of children and their parents together.

We believe in…

Housing First       2-Generation Approach   

Trauma-Informed Care      Resiliency Focus 

 Every Family Housed 

Fathers, mothers, grandparents, caretakers and children provided shelter and/or housing stabilization

Nights of secure shelter provided

Families prevented from experiencing homelessness

%

Families move to or remain in safe & stable housing

“At Friends we are committed to exercising social responsibility while understanding that we are the safety-net for so many families. Your donations and words of support over the past few weeks have energized us as we continue to provide critical services for families facing homelessness. Beginning March 16, we will be partially closed as we strive to keep employees and families safe and healthy.”

Jennifer Lopez, Executive Director

Family in the sunset

A Story of Resilience

Jessica grew up in what she describes as a dysfunctional family.  Her father was absent and her mother was addicted to drugs.  Most of her childhood was unstable, unsafe, and abusive.  She was determined to have a different life, a healthy relationship, and a home in which to anchor her family.  She met her partner and began building a life with him, having two little boys in quick succession.  Her dream for a better life dissolved when her partner became addicted to drugs.  She tried to support him and soon realized she was repeating the patterns of her childhood.  She broke that cycle when she found Friends Association.