Regional Non-Profit Leaders Announce
Housing First Collaborative
Advocates in Cumberland County are working to end chronic homelessness through a Housing First Collaborative. The Cumberland County Housing First Collaborative (CCHFC) is an innovative joint initiative of Gateway Community Action Partnership, PRAC of Southern New Jersey, CompleteCare Health Network, and Resources for Independent Living.
It will work with the mission of creating lasting solutions for homeless families and individuals by integrating housing, healthcare and support services. Housing First is an approach that emphasizes stable, permanent housing as a primary strategy for ending homelessness.
The organizations have agreed to form a joint taskforce to develop operational and fiscal plans to form an historic partnership to address the growing problem of homelessness in Cumberland County. The collaborative is working to adopt and expand the Housing First model for Cumberland County.
Dr. Robin Weinstein, Pastor of Bethany Grace Community Church & President/Founder of the M25 Initiative, developed the concept of the partnership to concentrate the resources and unique expertise of each organization in addressing the homelessness epidemic in Cumberland County.
NJCounts 2015 found over 200 homeless individuals in Cumberland County. The County has seen a 107% increase since 2011.
“We simply cannot continue as business as usual in Cumberland County as the evidence clearly demonstrates that we are failing in addressing the problem of homelessness in our region. With limited government resources and a fragmented social service system, we are not making progress against the tide of homelessness. However, the housing first model that is being utilized throughout the nation, and in a limited manner in the county, has a proven track record of reducing homelessness and saving taxpayers money.”
Said Weinstein, who is also Chair of the Cumberland County Code Blue Coalition.
The CCHFC’s goal is to end chronic homelessness in Cumberland County by 2020.
Dr. Weinstein outlined several benchmarks:
- Functional zero in Homeless Veterans by the end of 2016
- Functional zero in Homeless Families by the end of 2017
- Functional zero of those who are Chronically Homeless by 2020
“The bottom line is that Housing First saves lives, saves money, and improves communities. Each organization has their own niche and this model brings us together to utilize our resources and abilities in making a substantial reduction in the homeless population. Our social service model for the homeless is out of date and out of touch with the realities facing our community. This is a step in the right direction to make things a little easier for those who are already in crisis.”
Said Ralph Padilla, Executive Director of PRAC of Southern New Jersey.
The goal is to formally adopt the CCHFC by February, 2016.
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