HUD, VA and USICH Certify County’s Efforts to End Veterans Homelessness
On October 6, 2016, the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders announced the effective end of veterans homelessness in Middlesex County.
The announcement took place at a press conference held at New Jersey Memorial Home at Menlo Park in Edison.
Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios announced that three federal agencies – the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – certified the effective end of veterans’ homelessness in the County.
“We have obtained Functional Zero,” Rios said. “To put it in laymen’s terms, we have the infrastructure and systems in place to ensure that any veteran experiencing or at risk of homelessness will get the support he or she needs to quickly obtain a permanent home.”
Rios was joined at the announcement by Freeholders:
Additional guests included Maria Maio-Messano, New Jersey field office director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, veterans, and advocates.
The event included the presentation of colors.
In her remarks, Maria Maio-Messano pointed to efforts that the County has been involved in such as the development of the Kilmer Homes apartments as an example of a solution that creates housing for the homeless and veterans. Monarch Housing is a proud partner in Kilmer Homes.
In 2012, Rios led the effort of the freeholder board creating a Veterans Housing Program to help veterans and their families who were at risk of homelessness or currently homeless. The program has been funded with $100,000 annually.
In 2012, at his behest, the freeholder board created a Veterans Housing Program to assist veterans and their families at risk of homelessness or experiencing homelessness, Rios said. Since then, the freeholders have funded the program with $100,000 annually.
In September 2014, the freeholders passed a resolution endorsing first lady Michelle Obama’s Mayor Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness.
In addition to the county’s funds, the partners use voucher programs, including HUD VASH, which is administered through the Veterans Administration.
To date, the program has assisted 300 veterans and their families by providing money for down payments, apartment security deposits, rental assistance and other costs that presented barriers to permanent housing.
“As it does with our program to end all homelessness in the county, our program for veterans embraces the Housing First philosophy,” Rios said. “This is to say the county attempts to offer permanent housing in the first instance, then add any social services that may be needed, rather than placing people in transitional housing with no support.”