Edith Coogan, a Cranford resident of 55 years, will be one of 12 Union County
residents honored on Oct. 24 by Homefirst at the first annual Union County
Family Service awards.
In the 1908’s, Coogan and friend, Mary Orrico, created Raphael’s Life House in Elizabeth to provide transitional residents for at-risk women.
At the time of inception, there were over 200 women in the community in need of such a facility that were both homeless and pregnant. Since opening in 1993, the house has assisted over 600 women and their families in moving towards independence.
“Over the next several years Edith worked tirelessly fund raising and coordinating the conversion of an abandoned, dilapidated convent into a viable residence for those in need while also offering many on-site transitional programs,” Homefirst explained. “With funds from the State, HUD, private foundations, individual donors as well as the donation of services from local contractors they were able to make Rafael’s Life House a reality.”
The awards ceremony, known as An Evening of Thanks, is sponsored by businesses and leaders in the community.
Coogan and the 11 other recipients were nominated by the mayor of their municipality and chosen through a competitive process, which looked at the following criteria: 1) commitment to families; 2) support for families in need; 3) service to Union County families; 4) impact; and 5) longevity of service.
“Our honorees are an inspiration to me and to my colleagues at Homefirst and to everyone who cares about families in need. They work quietly and faithfully to support and strengthen families facing adversity and we are very excited to salute them at An Evening of Thanks on October 24,” noted Ellen McGovern, Homefirst’s Executive Director.
Provided by Homefirst: Established in 1986 in Plainfield, Homefirst delivers innovative comprehensive solutions to homelessness, based on national models of excellence. Their goal is to ensure every family in Union County has access to safe, decent, affordable housing- thereby strengthening families and building stronger more resilient communities.