Carol Latif, Ocean County Hunger Relief‘s Executive Director explained the importance to NJCounts 2018. “People need to realize how important it is to be counted,” Latif said. “The money the government puts together for relief programs, they go by these numbers. Last year they said there were fewer homeless because the homeless didn’t come out and get counted.”
Latif offered a $100 voucher as incentive for homeless individuals to come to Ocean County Hunger Relief to fill out the survey. The vouchers are funded by the Hovnanian Foundation and Investors Foundation.
“I want this out there because we don’t want that (low turnout) to happen again,” Latif said. “If anyone knows someone who is homeless, please bring them to us if they need a ride. Let us help our neighbors in need.”
On January 24, 2018, SNJToday reported in “NJ Counts 2018 Measuring Homeless Population” that “Last year’s NJ Counts Survey revealed an overall 4.6-percent decrease in the number of homeless individuals from 2016, and officials hope to see the number decrease even more this year.”
“Jewish Family Service’s Atlantic Homeless Alliance is the lead organization for the count in Atlantic County.”
“The purpose is to figure out who is homeless within our community and what those needs are,” Ann Thoresen, senior director of the Atlantic Homeless Alliance and Justice Involved Services at Jewish Family Service. “The goal is to try to do an accurate count of individuals … and then be able to use that information to plan for services that are needed, as well as to link people today to services.”
“At the Salvation Army building on Wednesday morning, Vinnie Kirkland, a care manager with AtlantiCare Mission Health Care, gave out in-formation about insurance and health care.
“We try to work with people,” he said. “What works best is when you walk with them side by side.”