Bergen County HA Highlighted
For Removing Barriers for Housing First
HUD found that approximately one-fourth of all PHAs prioritize serving homeless families by implementing various preferences and/or removing barriers that make it difficult for homeless individuals to participate in housing assistance programs.
The report highlighted the work of the Housing Authority of Bergen County:
The Bergen County, New Jersey, PHA developed a unique approach for serving homeless households in which the PHA itself provides a range of shelter and housing assistance. The PHA built an emergency shelter for homeless individuals in partnership with the county, with the PHA assuming responsibility for managing the shelter. When shelter residents are ready to exit, they can apply to the PHA for housing assistance. PHA staff conduct an assessment to determine what level of assistance the individual will need to maintain his or her housing. A partner organization provides a dedicated case manager to deliver supportive services to the tenants entering housing from the shelter. The PHA helps people with low barriers to maintaining housing with HCVs. For homeless households with higher barriers to maintaining housing, the PHA provides rental assistance under the Shelter Plus Care program.
Using mainstream housing assistance programs will be essential in order to achieve the goals of Opening Doors, the 2010 Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, including ending chronic homelessness by 2015 and ending homelessness for families, youth, and children by 2020.
The study surveyed 4,000 PHAs across the country.