Cumberland County Introduces Homelessness Trust Fund Ordinance

Opportunity to Fund Housing First County-Wide

Freeholder Director Joseph DerellaOn January 26, 2016, the Cumberland County Freeholders passed a first reading on an ordinance establishing The Cumberland County Homelessness Trust Fund and the Cumberland County Homelessness Trust Fund Task Force.

The County Homelessness Trust Fund Act passed by the state in 2009, allows counties to impose a $3 surcharge on certain documents and use that revenue to fund a county homeless trust fund.

The Daily Journal reported

“All this does is give a small window of opportunity to have some financial support to help (the homeless) move forward and become even more successful.”

Freeholder Director Joseph Derella said ahead of Tuesday’s vote.

“Cumberland officials said they now have the chance to help fight homelessness from a governmental position that was previously unavailable.”

For the nine counties that have adopted the Funds over $1 million in combined funds have been raised since 2011. This funding helps prevent and end homelessness for many individuals and families in their communities.

  • Bergen,
  • Camden,
  • Essex,
  • Hudson,
  • Mercer,
  • Middlesex,
  • Passaic,
  • Somerset and
  • Union.

Cumberland County estimates that the surcharges could raise at least $70,000 – $75,000 annually.

“Bridgeton pastor and homeless advocate Robin Weinstein expressed his excitement over the plan in an email to The Daily Journal.

‘I am delighted that the Board of Chosen Freeholders are putting forward the Homeless Trust Fund for adoption’ Weinstein said. ‘I applaud their courage and resolve in confronting this important issue.’”

Weinstein continued, “The trust fund is our opportunity to do something right on both a fiscal level and a moral level. The Homeless Trust Fund could support a county-wide Housing First model and other initiatives that holistically address homelessness in our area. These efforts would yield tangible results to taxpayers, as our current system is not equipped to tackle this growing problem.”

The Press of Atlantic City reports that

Albert Kelly, mayor of Bridgeton, which started Cumberland County’s first Code Blue program that provides overnight warming centers for the homeless, said the trust fund is welcome. ‘We can use every bit of help that you can lend us to help us solve this problem in our community,’ he said.”

Next steps include passing and adopting the ordinance after a second reading on February 23rd.

Cumberland Ordinance

Fact Sheet on the Homeless Trust Fund

The Daily Journal Coverage

Press of Atlantic City Coverage

Click here to contact Arnold Cohen at HCDNNJ and Richard W. Brown at Monarch Housing for more information or for help in drafting your plan/ordinance.