Homeless count to go beyond numbers: Connect Day offers meals, information

We could not have said it any better than County Executive DiVincenzo as any of us could be homeless tomorrow!  

Homeless count to go beyond numbers
‘Connect Day’ offers meals, information

Friday, January 19, 2007

BY ELIZABETH MOORE

Star-Ledger Staff

When a statewide count of homeless people is done across New Jersey on Thursday, Essex County plans to make sure those people aren’t simply counted and forgotten.

Yesterday, county and city officials announced plans to offer a meal, transportation, toiletries and information about jobs and shelters to homeless people, coordinating the services at the skating rink at Branch Brook Park at Seventh and Clifton avenues in Newark.

County and city officials yesterday announced plans for “Project Homeless Connect Day,” inviting religious leaders and social service agencies to take part and calling for additional volunteers to help out next week.

Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo said county transportation vans will be used to offer people rides to the park where they can get free toiletries, food and medical treatment. “We’re going to treat them as first-class citizens,” he said. “Homeless people could be any one of us on any particular day.”

This is the first time Essex County has taken part in the Connect Day program, which is also taking place in other counties around the state — including Hudson, Passaic, Bergen, Mercer and Camden counties. Every two years, a statewide count of homeless people is conducted and the results are turned over to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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