The most beautiful part of Dalia's new apartment is that she shares it with her 8-year-old daughter, Desiyer.
“When I put the key in the door the first day, she said, 'Mommy, we did it!'” Desiyer had lived with her father during the years of Dalia's dysfunction and homelessness, which followed her mother's death in 2000.
“When I was homeless, I sometimes stayed with friends, but mostly I wound up living in the park, abandoned buildings, the PATH station. The hardest part of all was being separated from my daughter. That was terrible,” she said. Dalia also has two grown sons.
Dalia, a certified nursing assistant, has settled into a routine of meals, school work, and fun with her daughter in their new apartment. It was the United Way of Hudson County's Live United Program for the chronically homeless that made it possible for her to have her own home and reunite with her daughter. The United Way staff, she said, has also been supportive.
“They're the best. Even when I have little problems, I ask their advice. They're always ready to help.
Now that Dalia has moved from the ranks of the homeless to a bill-paying resident of a nice apartment, she's found deep contentment and comfort in her home. “I was homeless for so long that I never want to leave my apartment. I'm there all the time,” she said with a bright smile.