Bergen Center Celebrates Five Years of Housing Success

Over 700 Individuals Housed Since 2009 At
Housing, Health and Human Services Center

Bergen Center Celebrates Five Years of Housing Success

(L to R) Freeholder Joan Voss, Jack Doyle, Lynn Bartlett, Bruce Walenczyk, Julia Orlando, Steven Kopf, John Aramian, Tammy Dunwoody and Kate Duggan.

On October 6, 2014, the Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services marked five years of preventing and ending homelessness in the County.

Bergen County Executive Kathleen A. Donovan and the Board of Chosen Freeholders presented “Journey of Hope”, a program at the County’s Housing, Health and Human Services Center in Hackensack.

The program featured Jennifer Velez, Commissioner, New Jersey Dept. of Human Services and local elected officials and partner agencies. Guest reflections on their success in moving out of homelessness were a highlight of the program.

Julia Orlando, the director of the Center, opened the celebration with this quote.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

Henry Ford

The goal of the Center is to place individuals in housing and provide the support services to ensure that the housing remains permanent. Since 2009, the Center has had impressive results:

  • Housed 700 individuals, including 143 chronically homeless individuals.
  • Provided 158,466 bed nights with a 70-day average length of stay.
  • Served 401,454 meals
  • Provided 149,305 services to 3,898 individuals – the Center with over fifteen partner agencies in providing services
  • Conducted 2,929 interviews
  • Made 2,085 benefit referrals.

One of the guests spoke about how the Center had transformed his life.

Without the center, Muse said, he might have ended up on the street after a friend had told him he could no longer live where he’d stayed.

He called the center every day and prayed until there was an opening.

Leaning into the lectern Monday, he told the audience how two of the center’s staff members kept guests on task with job searches, benefit applications and other job-seeking activities.

“You get here and you start thinking you’re homeless and you can’t afford anything and you can become depressed,” he said. But the continued prodding to seek work and the encouragement from staffers kept Muse, 55, from sliding into hopelessness.

Six months after he entered the building, he left with public housing assistance. After years of hip problems that forced him out of his manual labor job this year, he was classified as disabled. Without the center, Muse said, he wouldn’t have been able to find housing to sustain him as he worked on his medical problems. His next step is getting his hips fixed.

According to coverage in the Bergen Record.

Monarch Housing is pleased to be a partner of the Bergen Housing, Health and Human Services Center over the last five years. What they have accomplished – permanently housing 700 people – is the success that we need everywhere in NJ if we are to end homelessness. The Center is a national best practice.

Stated Richard W. Brown.

The Center is a one-stop location serving individual men and women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and others who require assistance with care management, services and housing.

Click here for a fact sheet on the Center.

Click here for the Bergen Record article.