Helping the Homeless as Quickly as Possible
On May 6, 2014, Governor Chris Christie visited the Atlantic County Municipal Building to highlight the early success of the Atlantic Homeless Alliance’s Single Point of Entry program.
A Single Point of Entry is a best practice in ending homelessness and works with individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless by connecting them with existing services, including mental health and substance abuse, and housing programs.
Christie said that the Atlantic County Single Point of Entry program should be replicated across the state.
“In the end what this is really about is about helping people who need the help as quickly and easily as we possibly can. We won’t help everyone. We never can. But every life that we change is an individual miracle.”
At a press conference, Christie joined local officials including Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian and program Director Ann Thoresen, and was quoted by the Press of Atlantic City saying “the Atlantic Homeless Alliance is an example of government doing its job.”
“What this is really about is helping people who need the help as quickly and as easily as we possibly can. We are in absolute charge of making sure that those who need help get that help.”
Thoresen reports that the program has served more than 750 people since it began in February with about 60% of those served falling between the ages of 20 and 50. The Atlantic Homeless Alliance works to help both individuals and families through developing personalized support plans to address that address each household’s needs.
“We’re looking at the total individual as to what’s going on. We’re not just breaking it down on we don’t do this or we don’t do that.”
Quoted by the Star-Ledger, Thoresen said.
Jewish Family Services of Atlantic and Cape May Counties the day-to-day operations of the single point of entry. Affiliated institutions include the Atlantic City Rescue Mission, Pleasantville Housing Authority and John Brooks Recovery Center. The Department of Human Services has partnered with Atlantic County, which oversees the program’s implementation. The program is funded by a $2 million federal Hurricane Sandy recovery grant.