Potentially Homeless Currently Homeless Chronically Homeless
Count On Youth!

CongressThe 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.

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Give the Homeless Homes

Homeless for 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.

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Urge Congress to Increase McKinney-Vento Funding Join Alliance’s National Call In Week

Congress

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.

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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 M. Hughes

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.

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Mercer County Receives National Attention

Corporation for Supportive HousingDeborah 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.

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Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes holds press event to share Mercer County's success with reducing homelessness

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes

On Tuesday, June 24th, 2014, dozens of formerly homeless people   participated in the “No Longer Homeless” roundtable discussion at Greater Trenton Behavioral HealthCare.

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Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness Acknowledged for It's Efforts to End Homelessness in Mercer County

The Times of Trenton Newspaper
By Times of Trenton Editorial Board

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:

  • 1,499 persons, in 1,246 households, were identified as chronically homeless, an increase of 278 persons, or 22.7%, compared to 2013.
  • 931 persons were living unsheltered, a 33.4% decrease from 1,399 in 2013.  This decrease may be due to the very cold weather over the time of the Count.

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.

2014 Fundraiser

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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).

2014 Fundraiser
Frank Cirillo, Mercer Alliance Board Member and Director of the Mercer County Board of Social Services presents awards to students Steven Rodriguez, Shayna Innocenti and Rajeshekar Manimaran.

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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
  1. Develop a uniform system response to homelessness.
  2. Prevent homelessness whenever possible.
  3. Rapidly re-house people when homelessness cannot be prevented.
  4. Provide wraparound services for as long as needed to support housing stability and self-sufficiency.
  5. Ensure that homes affordable to people of all income levels are built in all our communities
  6. Improve job opportunities, wages and supports for people with limited income.

These principles underlie the action steps that we’re taking every day. OUR GOALS / OUR INITIATIVES.

TAKE ACTION
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.

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Formerly homeless people speak of their new lives
  • “It really has been a big step for me, a huge step, where I came from, what I’ve been through in my life, and lord knows I’ve been through a lot, and it changed me, it made me a better person, it made me a more respected person, It made me feel that now I can move to the next level, I ‘m comfortable with my surroundings, I am comfortable with my neighbor, I am comfortable that I can go in my backyard and sit down in a chair, just thankful it is good to have that feeling. I go in my yard and sit in a chair and catch a little fresh air and stuff like that and I can feel a little more relaxed and feel comfortable in my yard looking around. Its not like I am in someone else’s yard, I am on someone else’s property. I’m home and that’s a good feeling for me... home means everything.”
  • “People that had nothing thought that nobody would ever think of them again. I thought I was going to die on the streets being homeless. That is what I thought.”
  • “It’s being able to have your own… the freedom and the peace that you get. This world that we live in, you know, it’s not the greatest and you can go inside your apartment and get that inner peace. Every time I go in that door I just get this peace.”
  • “I go to school for 5 days a week and I go to outpatient 3 days a week. I have a job coach down there I am trying to get my resume together. Everything is working out really good.”
  • “I am going to school now for my GED. Probably within the year I’ll be ready to take the state exam. Those are my goals, to get my license and my GED. I don’t owe any money and I know how to drive. Getting my license could open doors for me, like jobs.”
  • “Things are going kind of fast. I try to set small goals for myself. Last year was try to stay clean and go to group. Doing things and not getting paid for them, not expecting anything. I do stuff out of the kindness of my heart in the soup kitchen. I do two things a year to try to get my life established. These two things (GED and license) are to get my life established. I will be 40 in September.”

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