Housing First is the Solution to Homelessness in Cumberland County and Transforming Lives
On Thursday, June 14, 2018, the M25 Initiative’s Cumberland County Housing First Collaborative (CCHFC) surpassed their initial goal of finding permanent housing for 42 chronically homeless individuals.
The M25 initiative began this process on June 12, 2017. SNJ Today describes the CCFH as a collaborative made up of “social service organizations, faith-based institutions, and government officials committed to tackling the problem of chronic homelessness in Cumberland County”.
To date, the CCHFC has housed 50 individuals in total, 46 directly housed and 4 indirectly, through partners of the CCHFC.
The M25 Initiative is the guiding agency of the CCFH. The M25 Initiative is an organization based in Bridgeton, NJ that seeks to end chronic homelessness through “a grassroots community response that is cost-effective and compassion oriented,” according to Rev. Rob Weinstein President of M25 Initiative.
The CCFH and the M25 Initiative uses the Housing First model to combat homelessness and has seen incredible success since its employment in Cumberland County.
- Housing First functions with the idea that “instead of requiring people to meet certain conditions before providing them housing, the homeless are first given housing and then helped to make the changes they need to reintegrate into society successfully.”
- Housing First has not only been a better option for the homeless, but also for tax payers in the area.
- “National and State estimates place the cost of a chronically homeless individual at between $25,000 to $40,000 a year as they cycle through hospitals, jails, addiction facilities and social service agencies.”
- In Mercer County, where the Housing First Model is being used, taxpayers have been able to save “as much as $10,000 to $12,000 per year per client, while also reducing homelessness by 28 percent.”
The M25 Initiative is now working to implement the Phase Two Program. The Phase Two Program strives to return families and individuals to permanent housing as quickly as possible using Rapid Rehousing. So far eleven individuals have found permanent housing through this program, only six short of Housing First’s goal for 2018.
The efforts of the CCFH are considered a community effort between organizations and Cumberland County itself. Through the effort of various people and organizations, the 50 individuals housed have transformed their lives and gotten a fresh start.
If you are passionate about providing housing first in New Jersey, you should attend the July 25th, a Congressional Reception will be held at the Dirksen Senate Auditorium in Washington D.C. This event will allow New Jersey residents who are working poor, below the poverty line and or impacted by homelessness to urge their elected officials in Washington to make No Cuts to Housing and remind them that Oportunity Starts at Home.
We know that by joining together and amplifying our voices, we can have an impact on the decisions that are made in Washington DC. Join Monarch Housing Associates and our 35 partners from New Jersey to make the case that homelessness is solvable a problem. The federal government must be a full partner in ensuring an adequate breadth of services are available to prevent children, people with disabilities, the elderly, and all of our neighbors in NJ from experiencing the homelessness.
Register today to attend the Congressional Reception. Everyone needs to register even if you are traveling on your own.
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