Merton Homes proudly welcomed Marisol Ruiz-Shanley as the new case manager in December 2022, and her impactful work has resonated positively with clients and the community since then. This article is a heartfelt recap of the remarkable successes and accomplishments achieved by Merton Homes residents throughout 2023.

Empowering Clients:
Marisol’s dedication is evident in the multitude of resources and opportunities she provided to her clients. From information on career fairs to access to local food pantries, after-school youth activities, applications for government phones and tablets, tutoring, ESL classes, and courses promoting independence through assistive technology – Marisol ensured her clients had access to a broad spectrum of support.

Community Engagement:
Merton Homes fostered a sense of community through regular residence meetings held every other month. One notable meeting in May focused on the significance of mental health. With the valuable assistance of RNP United Resources Center and Connecticut Housing Partners, clients engaged in an educational conversation about mental health, receiving the added bonus of free spa certificates.

In August, a meeting was dedicated to the children of Merton Homes. Thanks to the generous donation from Bridgeport Police Chief Porter, book bags and school supplies were gifted to the children, opening avenues for after-school activities. Wesley Sainval presented Bridgeport Youth Lacrosse as an opportunity for children to engage in sports, while The Boy Scouts of America, presented by Gabriel Zayas, allowed parents to enroll their children in scouting programs.

Initiatives and Outreach:
Marisol’s initiatives extended to the grand opening of “Marisol’s Closet” in 2023, where clients can collect gently used clothing, shoes, and accessories. Additionally, a successful coat drive, supported by a generous donation from Jacob Dobos of Connecticut Housing Partners, further contributed to the well-being of the community.

In December, Merton Homes hosted its first annual Holiday Dinner at Osaka Buffet, provided by Catholic Charities. Clients were showered with Walmart gift cards from St. Pius X, Target gift cards from Connecticut Housing Partners, and tickets to Total Mortgage Arena sponsored by Catholic Charities – a heartwarming display of community support during the festive season.

Gratitude and Looking Ahead:
Marisol, along with her clients, expresses deep gratitude to everyone who played a role in making 2023 a resounding success. As we reflect on the accomplishments of the past year, Merton Homes eagerly anticipates the opportunities and community growth that 2024 will bring.

If you, or someone you know, is at risk of having to leave their home and having nowhere to stay, please dial 2-1-1 and press Option 3 to speak with a 2-1-1 Housing Crisis Specialist. The line is open daily 24 hours a day.