“We need affordable housing,” (Shantel) Garner (who works as a data analyst from the Community Planning and Advocacy Council) said. “If you have someone only getting $140 a month from (New Jersey) General Assistance, they can’t even afford a room, because a room is running $52 a day, or $400 a month.”
“How large the problem is, we don’t know,” said Monmouth County Freeholder John Curley, who was at New Beginnings church in the morning. “Monmouth is a relatively wealthy county, but there are too many people that are falling through the cracks.”
“At the Catholic Charities facility in Vineland, Cynthia Lebron, regional coordinator for Cumberland and Salem counties, was organizing the three street teams that would search Cumberland County. They take with them clothes, items for personal hygiene and snacks. Homeless women get pocketbooks filled with personal goods.
Lebron and her team found about eight men sitting against a wall and across the railroads tracks near West Pear Street. Most of the men were Spanish, so Lebron got an interpreter. Several filled out surveys. Off to a good start,” she said.”
And in Atlantic County, “Beth Joseph, director of communications and donor relations for Jewish Family Services, said her organization and other agencies spend time getting to know the homeless in Atlantic County. She said that familiarity, coupled with a feeling of security at the Salvation Army gym, make it more comfortable for the homeless to fill out the survey.”
“And the annual NJ Counts play a crucial part in reducing homelessness, said Christina Bailey, the alliance’s association director.
“They’re key to finding what leads to homelessness and how to get people out of homelessness,” she said.”
“Ending homelessness has been a priority of my administration,” Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes said in a statement on the count. He said the focus on homeless youths is key. “Because youths who are homeless tend to be transient, often staying with a friend for a night or two, it is a group that is quite difficult to target. The entire Trenton/Mercer team is very focused on connecting the young homeless with the services they need to get on the right track,” Hughes said.