Expanding Affordable Housing Creating One Stop Centers Better Options
A March 6, 2014 article, “Greyhound Therapy” in The American Prospect highlights the unofficial policy and practice in parts of New Jersey of “shipping people off to cities better equipped to provide services.”
With a dire lack of affordable housing options, many South and West Jersey counties offer homeless individuals one-way tickets to either Trenton or Atlantic City because they lack affordable housing and shelter options for single adults. Shelter providers in these cities see people coming out of prison or who are newly unemployed and cannot afford a place to live in the fourth most expensive state in the country.
“Greyhound therapy” places further pressure on an all ready overburdened homeless system in both Atlantic and Mercer Counties. “Trenton-based homeless advocate Connie Mercer says the last person her organization placed in Section 8 housing had been on the waiting list for 12 years. “ This points to the overwhelming demand for too few vouchers.
In related news, Atlantic County recently, recently opened its One Stop Center for the homeless that connects individuals and families with existing services, including mental health and substance abuse, and housing programs. Establishing one stop centers in neighboring counties might address the lack of services in counties besides Ocean and Cape May.
For these other counties,
“Greyhound Therapy is a quick fix to a problem they’d rather avoid. ‘Nobody wants a homeless shelter in their town. They just don’t.’”