The Freeholder Board passed a resolution that authorizes a trust that will raise money through a $3 fee attached to real estate transactions handled by the county clerk’s office, such as real estate transfers.
The County began work on its 10-year plan to end homelessness in October 2016. At that time, Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton said,
“Homelessness is not a problem that impacts a single group of people, and it is not merely defined as someone living on the street or in a shelter. It happens across many segments of our population and often to our most vulnerable residents – youth, families with children, our seniors, and people with disabilities.”
The Trust Fund is expected to generate $54,000 to $70,000 a year.
Cape May County is the 11th County Trust Fund to be established in New Jersey and joins the following Counties:
During public comment, Denise Venturini, director of Cape Hope, said she was overjoyed with the freeholders’ decision to authorize the Homeless Trust Fund.
“The concern for those experiencing homelessness was brought to my attention exactly three years ago. The extent of homelessness in Cape May County is something that most are not aware of. Homeless citizens mainly live off the grid and under the radar in our communities,” Venturini said.
According to Venturini, the homeless sometimes have little or no interaction with social services in the community, and have little access to resources, including, food, adequate clothing, and shelter.
“I am proud to stand here tonight as Cape May County becomes the 11th county in the state of New Jersey to create a Homeless Trust, which will collect funds to help offset the costs of vital and life changing services to the homeless,” she said. “Our name is Cape Hope, and tonight’s announcement, which comes as the Code Blue season begins, is an expression of hope for homeless citizens in Cape May County.”
“Freeholder Jeffrey Pierson, who oversees county social services, said the county just hit a Code Blue for the first time this winter. ‘I just got an email tonight saying they are going to do it again. It’s important to keep the homeless people off the street,’ Pierson said.”
For the ten counties that have already established a Homeless Trust Fund, the 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.
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.