MIDDLESEX COUNTY â€” Marvin Gregory showed up at Elijah’s Promise soup kitchen in New Brunswick Thursday. He was fed a lunch, handed a blanket and got himself counted in a census of the homeless that was conducted throughout the state.
Flurries swirled and the temperature dipped outside the basement lunchroom on Neilson Street as over 200 people came and went for a free midday meal. They were also able to get a variety of medical and social services and participate with the survey mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Gregory spoke of the misery of facing bitter cold.
“I’d be wanting to cry, but I’d be scared to cry because I know if I cry the water will freeze on my jaw and I’ll be even colder,” said Gregory, stout in stature and turning 54 at the end of this month. He says he’s been homeless for a few years.
” “So I’ll hold back the tears and stuff knowing that if I cry, the water will freeze me up. I hate to think about it,” added Gregory. “But these people here, I feel it’s good for anyone to reach out to us. It’s a good time of year for this, the weather is cold and they’re giving out blankets and things for people to stay warm and everything. People can get something to eat. It’s just like Christmas all over again.
“It’s very well appreciated. The government can see this and help these guys out even more so they can do so much more because we really need it.”
Every other year, Housing and Urban Development requires that a “Point in Time” survey be conducted by localities applying for federal funds for supportive housing for the homeless. The information gathered in the survey will enable New Jersey to secure additional federal funding, assist community and government agencies in identifying homeless trends and allow them to be better equipped to provide services and programs that address the population’s most pressing needs.