Reflecting on 2023

A Letter from our Executive Director

Walking into 2023, we knew it would be a challenging year to navigate because there were so many factors affecting our community. As rising costs continued to increase and wages stayed stagnant, we saw new levels of people asking for assistance, many for the first time. Housing continues to be on the top of the list of crises to overcome – and we witnessed first hand the difficulty of finding affordable, safe and stable housing. As temperatures rise and climate change continues to cause inconsistent weather, there has been a greater demand for day and night shelter, year round. 
And through it all, Friendship House did what it does best: we showed up for our community.
In 2023, we served more people than any other year. We worked with people who are struggling to survive as they fight through the difficulties of being unhoused. We worked with people exiting incarceration, not sure where to start with the difficult process of reacclimating to society. We worked with people committed to their well being, focusing on surviving another day no longer dependent on substance abuse. We worked with survivors. We fought for equity. We prayed with people. We lent a shoulder. We grew our programming, we stretched ourselves, and we loved (almost) every moment of it.
There are so many moments throughout 2023 that were special for us. From doubling our Clothing Bank warehouse space, to adding a new house to our Transitional Housing program, to growing our Empowerment Center program to Sussex County, and even kicking off a new seasonal program called Code Orange – we stayed busy.
Because of you, we also broke records with our fundraisers. Our participation in the Highmark Walk set a new record for us as we raised $90,000 and had 600 registered walkers. Our annual party raised $110,000. We can look back at 2023 and be proud of all we accomplished.
As we look ahead into 2024, we know Friendship House must continue to be the best version of ourselves in order to provide love and support to our current community as well as the new faces we will see this year – the families whose mom loses her job because the company she worked for stopped streaming services, the 18 year old whose families said “we can’t support you” when she shared she was gay, or the 78 year old who can no longer afford to refill his oil tank because prices are too high, and his social security income will not be enough. We know we must be creative, intentional, authentic, and bold if we want to be part of the change needed to ensure every person is on a pathway to find their way home. We are committed to being our best selves in 2024 – and we hope you will be part of it all.
Kim Eppehimer, Executive Director

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