The Ruggiero Family Defeats Homelessness
Excerpt from: DELAWARE NEWS JOURNAL – December 24, 2012
For 47-year-old Ron Ruggiero, his thoughts were on how his family was going to get by each day. Ruggiero along with his wife Mary, their daughter Danielle and her two-year-old son Christian became homeless earlier this year shortly after he lost his job. Not wanting to separate, the Ruggieros stayed in motels and the garage of a family member for several months before they received help from Family Promise of Northern New Castle County. Experts say the number of homeless families in Delaware is surprisingly high. An estimated 40 percent of all homeless people in the state are families, said Susan Starrett, executive director of the Homeless Planning Council of Delaware. Many of these families end up staying in motels and hotels, so they are not as visible, Starrett said.
“If we were in the same situation we were before, I mean like three months ago, Christmas wouldn’t even be in the picture,” Ruggiero said. “It wouldn’t. It would be [me worrying] about getting full-time work and what are we going to do about food. What they (Family Promise) did within 90 days was nothing short of a miracle.”
In the Ruggieros’ case, the family’s problems came after Ron Ruggiero lost his job. At first the couple of 23 years, along with their daughter and grandson, stayed in motels as they looked for programs that would help them. But Mary Ruggiero said that was a hard time because many programs were willing to house only a portion of the family. “You’ve been together for 23 years and then all of a sudden you’re told that they can house you and your daughter, but your husband has to go here,” she said.
A few weeks later, Family Promise contacted them. The group found temporary shelter for the family as it looked for more permanent housing and work for Ron Ruggiero. On December 2, the family got an early Christmas present – they moved into their new house. The group also came through with helping Ron find a job.
As a Westminster Urban Mission and Family Promise volunteer, I am continually reminded how important our WPC outreach programs are to so many families in New Castle County. I had the fortune to get to know the Ruggiero family in late November during their stay at Westminster through Family Promise. I was humbled by their faith, courage, and determination to stay together as a family and get back on their feet in such a short time. Some say we are all only a few degrees separated from similar adversities in life. How blessed I feel knowing there are humble people of faith like Westminster’s Family Promise volunteers who are willing to share their time and talents providing hope for others.
God Bless Family Promise.
– Michael Gnade