Cumberland County will survey area homeless and hold Project Homeless Connect event

We found this article of interest about the efforts in Cumberland County.

By JOSEPH P. SMITH
Staff Writer

Agencies that work with the homeless are counting on a cold spell next Thursday to help with a statewide population survey.

Ordinarily, a bad weather report is the last thing they would want to see. But the theory is there are more resources available for this kind of project on cold days than on warm days.

Those involved in the survey said Friday there is a particular emphasis this year to snap as accurate a picture as possible of a notoriously fluid group of people.

That concern includes having participating agencies, including nonprofits, to use an identical survey methodology.

“We have a list of sites where people generally stay — abandoned buildings, in the woods,” said David Grennon, director of the Cumberland County Office for the Disabled.

“Three teams will go out and use a universal survey instrument to count and interview the individuals and families experiencing homelessness,” Grennon said. The team will split among Vineland, Millville and Bridgeton.

Another feature of this year’s effort is Project Homeless Connect. Basically, that means using the opportunity of getting in touch with large numbers of homeless people to offer them everything from eye checkups to food to housing referrals.

In Vineland, Catholic Charities is taking a part including making its office at 610 Montrose St. available for volunteers to get coffee and something to eat and for the homeless to get food, clothing and other assistance. The Salvation Army in Vineland also is participating.

“We’re using the Salvation Army in Atlantic City,” Guy said. “We’re going to host that in the gymnasium. We’re having providers come in from the mental health association, Community Food Bank of New Jersey, the Social Security Administration.”

Atlantic County’s last survey suggested about 900 homeless.

In April 2006, Cumberland County surveyed 99 homeless but the county suspects the number is much higher.
 
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