Service organization helps homeless amid COVID-19 crisis

Empty streets and closed boardwalks in Atlantic City have business owners, residents, and employees concerned.  But there’s another group that’s being impacted by the pandemic that not many people are talking about.

Susan Long, the New Jersey Chapter Director of the group Angels in Motion, said that it has been really hard for people living on the streets during this pandemic.

“There’s literally no bathrooms for people to use. A lot of times they would go into the casinos, get water there, clean up, go to the library, go to social services,” said Long. 


Helping the homeless and those battling addiction is nothing new to A.I.M., but the economy and overall impact of coronavirus has definitely put a spotlight on the difficulties they face in Atlantic City.

“We’re able to see more people that are in need because if you drive around, it's filled with a lot of people who are struggling with homelessness,” Long said. 

The generosity of A.I.M. has a great impact. Long and numerous volunteers regularly set up just off the boardwalk to make sure people know that someone is still there to help them.

“We give out blessing bags, sandwiches, toiletries, sometimes clothes- whatever donations we have,” she said.

They also offer support for anyone battling addiction, which is something that both Susan and support worker Scott can personally relate to.

“Scott and I are both in long term recovery, so we’re always trying to help people get into treatment if they’re interested,” said Long.

That experience drives Long and makes her appreciate someone nominating her as a ‘hero’.

“It’s kind of emotional- I think it’s more just gratitude. It's hard to believe I have the life I have today,” she said. “If you would’ve told me 6 years ago that I would graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree- I was 80 pounds and eating out of dumpsters.”

Long's past has inspired the work she’s been doing during this pandemic and made her achieve more than she thought was possible. 

“I’m still here and still alive after all that I’ve been through and I just feel that I have a purpose today. My purpose is just to give back and help people in need,” she added. 

Long proves that regardless of your past, you can be generous and become a hero.

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