The post highlights the use of the trust fund in two counties.
To date eight counties throughout the state have adopted and begun implementation of these homeless trust funds, including: Bergen, Camden, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic, Somerset and Union. In a 2012 report, more than $1 million had been collected in 2011 in these counties.
Last fall, Mercer County contracted, through a competitive application process, for $370,000 of Homeless Trust Fund Dollars. Activities funded include:
Expansion of Robinson House at the Rescue Mission of Trenton to provide permanent affordable housing;
Funds to support prevention services including back rent, mortgage, utilities and a shallow subsidy program to provide rental support over the long term for SSI or SSDI recipients to avoid eviction; and
Supportive services for eighteen individuals who are receiving rental vouchers for chronic homelessness.
An additional $280,000 in funds was collected during the 2013 fiscal year and will be released early in 2014.
Somerset County’s homeless trust fund was created in 2010 and has helped households regain security through rental assistance enabling them to buy their own home, go back to school, or obtain higher paying jobs. Those eligible for the program receive an average monthly stipend of $250 throughout a period during which they meet with a case manager, apply to a savings-match program and attend educational classes.
To date the fund has collected $511,511 to benefit nineteen households participating in the program. Two persons secured jobs sufficient to enable them to exit the program.
Over the next few weeks, we will be providing updates on how the other six counties have used their Homeless Trust Funds.