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A journey to self-sufficiency
By Connie Grosch / October 13, 2017 /   Loading Disqus...

Lucy’s Hearth was established in 1984 as a night-to-night shelter for homeless women and children of Aquidneck Island. Over the years, it has morphed into so much more – expanding its focus to help families live independently by gaining the life skills necessary to prevent future homelessness.

“Everyone is on their own journey – we just want to support and encourage them along the way.”      – Jennifer Barrera, Lucy's Hearth


“Ninety percent of our moms have experienced trauma,” says program director Jennifer Barrera. “Their homelessness is typically the result of economic hardship, a family crisis, or a divorce.”

On the day we visit, we meet Jennifer Caouette and her four children, ranging in age from 9 to 14. While living at Lucy’s Hearth, Jennifer has gone from working at Dunkin’ Donuts to attending classes for her CNA certificate, leading her to a stable job at an area nursing home.

Lucy’s Hearth has taken a holistic approach to wrap-around services for their residents with both transitional and permanent housing programs, mental health outreach, and aftercare. Since 1989, the Rhode Island Foundation has been supporting their goals and their work.


“The greatest thing in this world is not so much where you stand as in what direction you are moving.”  – poster at Lucy's Hearth


“Sometimes we mothers meet up at night in the TV room after the kids are in bed and we talk about what our life struggles have been, and where we want to go. It makes me feel like I’m not so alone," says Caouette.

“Lucy’s Hearth has been so patient with me. But I’ve made great strides and I think I’ve even shown some of the other women that, even with four kids, it can be done. We still have some work cut out for us, but it’s nice to know we have a safe place to lay our heads.”



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