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

Beck and Casagrande will sleep on the street in Trenton tonight

Monmouth County Legislators Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande will be sleeping under the stars on the grounds of the Statehouse in Trenton tonight, April 11, along with 8 other members of the legislature, from both parties, to raise awareness and funds in support of New Jersey’s homeless runaway and trafficked youth who are served by Covenant House.

Click on photo to support a legislator's fund raising efforts for Covenant House

Click on photo to support a legislator’s fund raising efforts for Covenant House

“Covenant House is always there, when no one else is, to help homeless, at risk adolescents,” says Casagrande.  “I was moved to get involved by the stories of those whose lives have been changed by this remarkable organization.  It is my hope that my participation in this ‘Legislative Sleep Out’ will bring attention to the work of Covenant House and encourage others to get involved.”

“Those of us sleeping outside tonight will be lucky. We only have to do it for one night and it will be during the spring,” Beck said. “Hundreds of youths sleep outside every night through the most brutal of seasons and during the harshest of weather.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: April 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Caroline Casagrande, Covenant House, Jennifer Beck | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Beck and Casagrande will sleep on the street in Trenton tonight

Smith Secures VA Grant For Soldier ON

Will Serve Veterans & Their Families in Monmouth, Ocean, Burlington, Middlesex Counties Who Are at Risk of Homelessness 

Washington, Jul 17 – A $1 million federal grant has been awarded to a non-profit organization to assist low income veterans in Central New Jersey who are at risk of losing their homes, Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04) announced today. 

“This funding will provide much needed housing assistance and stability to veterans in Central New Jersey so that they can remain in their homes even when times are difficult,” said Smith, who worked with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in support of the grant application.

The grant was awarded this morning to Soldier On, a leader for community-based homeless and at-risk veterans’ housing and services. Soldier On has 15 years of experience developing transitional and permanent housing and successfully creating innovative homeownership opportunities in underserved areas—addressing both the urban and rural needs of local communities. The funding will be provided by through the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grant program.

“Unfortunately, right now, the concentration of veterans and their families in Central New Jersey are without access to prevention and rapid re-housing resources,” said Smith.  “With the VA’s green light, Soldier On will now be able to provide very specialized services to address the needs of a very specific population in Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Burlington Counties thereby enabling a federal-private partnership that will truly help our veterans.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: July 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Fort Monmouth, Press Release, Veterans | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Smith Secures VA Grant For Soldier ON

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 »