‘Housing First’ Advocates Look to Expand, Take Program Statewide
Finding homes for the homeless is seen as first step toward improving health, lowering costs of medical and social services
An effort to improve the health of the homeless in New Jersey is gaining the attention of legislative and insurance-industry leaders, laying the groundwork for the statewide expansion of a program that concentrates on finding housing for the homeless before focusing on healthcare services.
Count On Youth!
The Trenton/Mercer Continuum of Care, in collaboration with the New Jersey Division of Children and Families and the Mercer County Human Service Advisory Council, will be conducting its first ever targeted count of youth homelessness on November 12, 2014. This event entitled COUNT ON YOUTH will be a 24 hour count of homeless youth.
Give the Homeless Homes
In 2005, Utah set out to fix a problem that’s often thought of as unfixable: chronic homelessness. The state had almost two thousand chronically homeless people. Most of them had mental-health or substance-abuse issues, or both. At the time, the standard approach was to try to make homeless people “housing ready”: first, you got people into shelters or halfway houses and put them into treatment; only when they made progress could they get a chance at permanent housing. Utah, though, embraced a different strategy, called Housing First: it started by just giving the homeless homes.
Urge Congress to Increase McKinney-Vento Funding Join Alliance’s National Call In Week
Join The Mercer Alliance for a National Call In Week to increase HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants funding from Monday, September 8, 2014 to Friday, September 12, 2014.
Section 8 housing SCAM ALERT!
The NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) has been made aware of a scam that is occurring regarding the Section 8 waiting list in New Jersey. Individuals and families are being directed to this website: http://section8programs.com/newjersey, which is being falsely identified as a State of NJ website.
This is not a State of NJ website. It requests credit card information, and is clearly a fraudulent site.
Please share this scam alert as widely as possible with individuals, families and provider staff, and reiterate that there should never be money paid to be put on a Section 8 housing wait list or any Public Housing wait list. (Developers may require an application fee for apartments - to cover background checks).
Mercer County Executive Hughes to Speak at National Conference
Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes will speak at the National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference next week in Washington, D.C., about the success of Mercer County’s Rapid Re-housing program, which has helped lower the number of homeless people in the county.
Mercer County Receives National Attention
Deborah DeSantis president and CEO of the Corporation for Supportive Housing had an opinion piece in the Times of Trenton on July 2, 2014. The piece entitled –Supportive Housing in Mercer County Stops Cycle of Homelessness – highlighted the role of Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes and the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness in implementing successful Housing First strategies.
Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes holds press event to share Mercer County's success with reducing homelessness
On Tuesday, June 24th, 2014, dozens of formerly homeless people participated in the “No Longer Homeless” roundtable discussion at Greater Trenton Behavioral HealthCare.
Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness Acknowledged for It's Efforts to End Homelessness in Mercer County
The Times of Trenton Newspaper
One one of the most bitterly cold nights in memory, volunteers fanned out across the country to seek out those who many of us prefer — or pretend — not to see.
Results from the NJ Counts point-in-time homeless tallies are discouraging for New Jersey where volunteers found 13,900 homeless men, women and children. That’s an overall increase of 1,898 individuals, or 16 percent, from the count.
In Mercer County, the sustained efforts of the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness appear to be paying off. According to the survey, the county’s homeless population has dropped 30 percent in five years.
And the 2014 count found 36 fewer homeless individuals, although homeless households — families or groups of unrelated people who would live together if they had housing — increased by 12 percent. And of those 500 households, 71 of them, or 14 percent, were families with at least one child younger than 18.
The extreme cold when the count was conducted in January may have wrought a clearer statistical picture. Some who might otherwise have been out on the street took refuge in shelters, making it easier to count them. It’s possible past counts have underestimated the extent of homelessness.
The cause of homelessness couldn’t be simpler. It occurs when individuals or households are unable to acquire or maintain housing they can afford. That’s a particularly challenging matter in New Jersey where housing costs are among the highest in the nation.
But getting homeless people off the streets isn’t enough.
The solution is to, first, get them into secure housing and then connecting them with the services they need — job training, medical attention, credit counseling, treatment for addictions — to remain off the street.
As an umbrella organization of public and private organizations, the Mercer Alliance has helped steer hundreds of individuals and families toward these solutions and stability.
The costs of such services and initiatives are well below the price of not implementing them — in terms of what the public pays to keep a homeless person overnight in jail; tax dollars for federal grants to subsidize beds in shelters; and costs for emergency hospitalization and medical attention.
There is also the moral cost of living in the most prosperous country in the world and passing by a family huddling under a bridge for shelter.
This is a problem with a solution. We should not lose sight of that until the next count makes it uncomfortably clear.
NJ Counts 2014 Finds 16% Increase in Homelessness
By Kate Kelly, Monarch Housing Associates
On the night of January 28, 2014, 13,900 homeless men, women and children were counted across the state of New Jersey. This was an overall increase of 1,898 persons, or 15.8%, compared to the 2013 count.
Other key findings include:
NJ Counts 2014 – the statewide point-in-time count of the homeless provides a snapshot of homelessness in New Jersey on the night of January 28, 2014. The count reflects a snapshot of homelessness in New Jersey that night.
The full report is available here - http://goo.gl/Pklf7y
An executive summary is available here - http://wp.me/PeqFK-60e
County by county reports are available here - http://wp.me/PeqFK-60e
Contacts for the 21 local county counts are available here - http://goo.gl/PjWObz
"Unfortunately, this year's count shows that there are still a significant number of adults and children experiencing homelessness in New Jersey," said Taiisa Kelly, Senior Associate at Monarch Housing who directed NJ Counts 2014. "But at the same time we have best practices and interventions such as affordable and supportive housing, Housing First, Rapid Re-Housing and Centralized Assessment which we know work to end homelessness."
The State of Homelessness in America 2014
The number of people who are at risk of homelessness has failed to decline during the recovery from the Great Recession. This is the case even though the rate of homelessness fell from 20 to 19 homeless persons per 10,000 people, and unemployment decreased in nearly every state. That’s according to The State of Homelessness in America 2014, the fourth in a series of reports from the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
Honoring the outstanding work of The Bonner Center for Civic and Community Engagement at The College of NJ
On April 29th, 2014, The Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness held its spring fundraiser event to honor the outstanding work of The Bonner Center For Civic and Community Engagement at the College of NJ (TCNJ).
Report to the Community on Progress in Ending Homelessness, 2009 - 2013
Please download our “Report to the Community” 2013 to familiarize yourself with the achievements of the Alliance in helping hundreds of formerly homeless individuals and families re-stabilize in permanent rental homes.
Core Principles for Ending Homelessness
Mobilizing to End Homelessness
Today, in Mercer County, many people lack a home to call their own. The Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness is working for all Mercer County citizens to enable everyone to have a home. We all benefit when everyone lives in a home instead of on the street or in a shelter.
The Mercer Alliance is a powerful force to end homelessness. We mobilize a large network of partners from government, non-profit and the business sectors to work together to achieve this common goal.
We can. We must. We will.
Latest News & Comment
11/25/13 - Information you should Know
Free Tax Preparation
FREE PROFESSIONALLY PREPARED TAX RETURNS
New Jersey Home Keeper Program
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)– 1-800-510-3102
The Universal Service Fund (USF) – 1-800-510-3102
NJ SHARES (NJS) – 1-866—njshares
NJ Lifeline – For Seniors and Disabled- 1-800-792-9745
Temporary Relief for Utility Expenses (TRUE) Grant – 1-855-465-8783
Verizon’s Communications Lifeline – Low-income residents and Seniors, 50% discount. 1-877-652-9426.
New Jersey American Water - Assistance with water bill for low-income individuals – 1-877-652-9426.
United Water Cares – No income guideline. – 1-888-942-8080 0r www.uwcares.org.
NJ Comfort Partners – Installation of energy efficiency measures, education and counseling for low-income households. 1-888-773-8326
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Are you in a Housing Crisis?
Are you seeking services?
Download our "Where You Can Turn for Help!" resource guide.
Are You A Veteran Looking for a Place to Live?
Mercer County Veteran Services
US Veterans Center
Need Help Locating Affordable Housing?
Need Help Locating an Apartment?
Are you seeking services?
Download our "Where You Can Turn for Help!" resource guide.
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Formerly homeless people speak of their new lives
Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness
3150 Brunswick Pike, STE 230, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648-2420
Phone: (609) 844-1006 :: Fax: (609) 895-1245