Garden State’s Homeless Rate Halved During Past Decade

New national data show that homelessness in New Jersey fell by 50.7 percent during the past decade, the biggest decline in any state during that period. The figures came in an annual report released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. But Renee Koubiadis, executive director of the Anti-Poverty Network of… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: December 8th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Homelessness, Monmouth County News, New Jersey | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Garden State’s Homeless Rate Halved During Past Decade

Howell Homeless Camp Is Preparing For Winter, Seeking Alternative Shelter For Residents

photos courtesy of Minster Steve Brigham
Minister Steve Brigham, the founder of Destiny’s Bridge , the non-profit organization that operates the homeless camp in Howell, announced on facebook this morning that the organization is seeking to find alternative housing for residents of the camp for the winter months.

Brigham opened the Howell camp last year with the agreement of the Township.  Prior to that, the minister operated Tent City in Lakewood for many years, taking care of as many as 130 homeless people, before Lakewood officials shutdown and demolished the camp while providing temporary rental assistance to 60 residents. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: September 30th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Homelessness, Howell, Monmouth County | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Gov. Christie speaks at drug court ceremony, volunteers at soup kitchen

Gov. Christie speaks at drug court ceremony, volunteers at soup kitchen (via NJ.com)

PATERSON — Donning an apron and plastic gloves, Gov. Chris Christie helped serve lunch at a community kitchen today, after speaking at a drug court graduation ceremony. “It’s all interconnected,” Christie said, standing in the cafeteria at Eva…

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Posted: December 18th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Homelessness | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Interactive Map: Counting the Homeless Population in New Jersey

Roughly 12,000 New Jerseyans were counted as homeless last year, the lowest level in at least the last five years, according to data from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD recently released its 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report…

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Posted: December 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Homelessness | Tags: | Comments Off on Interactive Map: Counting the Homeless Population in New Jersey

Tent City, Three Ways

by Debbie Galant, NJNewsCommons.org

News outlets ranging from the AP to the Lakewood Scoop have covered the ongoing saga of Lakewood’s Tent City, an encampment of about 80 homeless people, which the town has been trying to shut down for years. This spring a deal was struck: Tent City residents will leave within a year if a homeless shelter is opened in Ocean County.  But the story of the tent community has proved more indelible than a series of fleeting headlines.  The makeshift village in the woods, complete with its own upright piano, is now the subject of a book-length poem, a documentary and a series of black-and-white photo portraits.

Copyright 2013 Sherry Rubel

Copyright 2013 Sherry Rubel

Hank Kalet, an economic needs reporter for NJ Spotlight,  was a regional editor for Patch in early 2012 when photographer Sherry Rubel sent over a press release about her Kickstarter campaign to fund a photo project on Tent City. Although the campaign didn’t reach its funding goal, it set an idea in motion for Kalet, who was also working on his MFA in poetry at Fairleigh Dickinson, and in search of a project.

“I was looking for something to sink my teeth into,” Kalet recalls. “Looking for a project to use both parts of my writing self.”


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Posted: July 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Homelessness, NJNewsCommons, Tent City | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Tent City, Three Ways

Governor Chris Christie Takes Action to Combat Homelessness in New Jersey

Signs Executive Order to Form Interagency Council on Homelessness and Develop Ten-Year Plan

Trenton, NJ – Today, Governor Chris Christie signed Executive Order 92 creating the Interagency Council on Homelessness to combat homelessness as part of the Administration’s commitment to protecting the most vulnerable New Jerseyans. The Council is tasked with better identifying and addressing the needs of homeless New Jerseyans as part of a longterm plan to help assist those individuals affected by homelessness and to prevent homelessness from taking hold in the future. This cooperation and planning will strengthen existing efforts by improving the coordination and delivery of programs and services to those in need.  


Governor Christie signed Executive Order 92 at HomeFront in Ewing, an organization that works to combat homelessness by increasing the availability of adequate, affordable housing for New Jersey families in need of assistance. The Governor was joined by Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Jennifer Velez and Deputy Commissioner of Community Affairs (DCA) Charles Richman. The Council will be co-chaired by the commissioners of DHS and DCA.


“Homelessness in our society often touches each of our communities in a personal way and too often fails to get the attention it deserves. It is our neighbors, friends and sometimes family members who, having fallen on difficult times, struggle to have their basic housing needs met,” said Governor Christie. “Right now, New Jersey has a strong set of services available to assist our homeless residents get back on their feet, but they are not applied in a strategic and coordinated way. We can do better to serve families who need help now, and deliver services in a more organized way to prevent homelessness from occurring in the first place.”


According to a January 2012 report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, New Jersey’s rate of chronic homelessness has decreased by 20 percent, indicating progress in identifying and working with individuals with substance use disorders, disabilities, mental illness or medical issues. However, overall homelessness has increased over that same period (7%), which means there is still work to be done to support families and veterans.


“Without a place to call home, it’s incredibly difficult to secure and retain a job or nurture a family,” said Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez. “Safe, permanent housing truly is a key factor in helping people attain self sufficiency.”


Governor Christie’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget proposal acts on a commitment to provide housing assistance for New Jerseyans who are in need. In addition to providing $2.3 million to expand the successful Veteran’s Haven – the veterans transitional housing program – to the northern part of the state, Governor Christie’s budget provides critical funding for housing assistance programs such as the State Rental Assistance Program ($21 million), the Homelessness Prevention Program ($4.4 million), and Shelter Assistance ($2.3 million). 


In addition, the Department of Human Services serves many homeless residents through its General Assistance and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs. Both provide supports that include temporary shelter placement, rental assistance, medical coverage, food assistance and job training. The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget protects $78.6 million in funding for the WorkFirst New Jersey program, which helps people get off welfare, secure employment and become self-sufficient through job training, education and work activities. Other state services also are provided to homeless individuals who have mental health or addiction disorders. 


These programs have helped make New Jersey a leader in preventing chronic homelessness in New Jersey, but homelessness continues to affect too many New Jersey families. The Governor’s action today will mobilize the state government in a more efficient, coordinated and strategic manner around the goal of finally ending homelessness in the state.


“Today, we are taking action to more effectively address the needs of homeless New Jerseyans across every aspect of state government, with the goal of identifying and preventing the many different causes of homelessness. Ultimately, I believe that as leaders we must set high, achievable goals for the serious challenges we face, which is why the Council also will be charged with developing a 10-year plan to combat homeless over the long-term,” added Governor Christie.


The Interagency Council on Homelessness will be established within the Department of Human Services, be comprised of 15 public members, and operate until December 31, 2014. Its duties and responsibilities include:


·                     A review of the findings contained in the Interim Report of the Council on Preventing and Reducing Homelessness;

·                     Identifying and evaluating the statutory and regulatory impediments to the effective delivery of services to homeless individuals and families;

·                     Providing recommendations to improve relevant laws, programs and policies to better utilize state resources directed to homelessness and homelessness prevention;

·                     Preparing a 10-year plan to end homelessness in New Jersey; and,

·                     Reporting annually to the Governor on the Council’s work and progress.


The Council’s membership will be comprised of the Commissioners of the following Departments: Children and Families; Community Affairs; Corrections; Education; Health and Senior Services; Human Services; Labor and Workforce Development as well as the Executive Director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency; Chairman of the State Parole Board, the Adjutant General and a representative from the Governor’s Office.


Eleven public members will be appointed by the Governor and will include a representative of county government; a representative of municipal government; one person who is or recently was homeless; a representative of the private sector; four representatives of non-profit agencies providing housing, social, behavioral health, or health-care services to homeless individuals or families; a representative from a non-profit providing statewide coverage, technical assistance, and affiliation with a national non-profit; a representative of public housing authorities; and, one representative from the faith based community. 


In addition, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the Assembly, the Senate Minority Leader, and the Assembly Minority Leader each may appoint a member of the Legislature, or his or her designee, to serve on the Council.

Posted: April 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, Homelessness | Tags: , , | 7 Comments »