Housing First Collaborative Using 42 Vouchers and Ending Homelessness
On January 24, 2018, SNJ Today reported, “Cumberland County One Step Closer to Ending Homelessness by 2020.” On that day in Bridgeton, the Cumberland County Housing First Collaborative and Bethany Grace Community Church helped a gentleman named Tony move into his new apartment.
Cumberland County officials have set the goal of ending homelessness in the County by 2020 and Tony’s new apartment moves the County closer to that goal.
“Tony has been homeless for just over a year and thanks to a housing voucher from the state and support from the Housing First Collaborative, he is finally able to get off the street and into a new permanent home.”
The State of New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs has awarded the Cumberland County Housing First Collaborative 42 rental vouchers to use to move chronically homeless individuals, like Tony, into their own affordable and permanent apartments.
Individuals moving into their new apartments will also have access to wrap-around support services to help them continue to stabilize and transform their lives.
“It is a joy especially with Tony, Tony was waiting quite a while for different reasons to get this apartment and he finally gets it and you just see the joy on his face,” said Ernesto Ortiz, case manager for PRAC Southern NJ. “So just seeing those things helps us to just keep pushing it and to keep moving forward so that they can have their own permanent housing.”
The Cumberland County Housing First Collaborative is a unique consortium of social service organizations, faith-based institutions, and government officials committed to tackling the problem of chronic homelessness in Cumberland County. The M25 Initiative serves as the guiding agency of the Collaborative.
The other partners include:
- Gateway Community Action Partnership,
- PRAC of Southern New Jersey,
- Resources for Independent Living, and
The Collaborative utilizes the Housing First philosophy, which prioritizes assisting the chronically homeless in expediently accessing permanent housing and providing them with the supportive services they need to retain that housing.
The Collaborative serves the population that may have multiple barriers to obtaining and maintaining housing.