Monarch Joins MHANJ’s October 5 Walk for Wellness and Recovery

Monarch's Taiisa Kelly and Jay Everett Walk for Wellness and Recovery

Housing is Health Care and Affordable Housing Creates Healthy Communities

On Saturday, October 5, 2019, Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ) ‘s held its 12th Annual Walk for Wellness and Recovery.

Once again this year, Monarch Housing was a proud partner in this event and Monarch staff was on hand to participate and support the Walk.

The Walk took place in beautiful Nomahegan Park on Springfield Avenue in Cranford. The event featured activities for all ages, including pumpkin painting for children, wellness demonstrations and community resource tables.

Monarch Housing’s CEO Taiisa Kelly addressed the walkers and she congratulated MHANJ on its 75th Anniversary and praised the organization for its leadership role in working to fight stigma and rasie awareness. “MHANJ is an advocate for those with mental illness and addiction, and the homeless,” said Kelly. “Monarch Housing is proud of our history with MHANJ and looks forward to continue our work together in the future.”

Fighting stigma and raising awareness around mental illness and substance use disorders is linked to Monarch’s work to create homes for the homeless.

The walk opened with the traditional singing of the national anthem by someone from MHANJ. Monarch Housing Associate Jay Everett commented that beginning the event with a reference to “Dawn’s early light” provides an excellent parallel to the Walk for Wellness and Recovery — a reminder for all of us that there is a better day dawning if we can endure the dark, embattled night.

NJCounts 2019, the point-in-time count of the homeless that took place on January 22, 2019, found 8,864 persons experiencing homelessness on a single night in the State of New Jersey. When self-reporting, individuals experiencing homelessness, specifically those reporting having a disability, often report having mental illness and/or a substance abuse disorder.

Fifty-one percent of homeless persons counted through NJCounts 2019 reported having some type of disability. 61.2% of adults 18 or older reported some type of disability. The most common disabilities included mental health issues and substance abuse disorders.

Among disabled persons, 59.6% reported mental health issues making this the most prevalent disability; representing 60.5% of the disabled adult homeless population and 30.1% of the total identified population experiencing homelessness. And 48.8% of disabled adults reported a substance abuse disorder. Among disabled homeless children, 44.4% a developmental disability and another 40.3% reported mental health issues.

Monarch Housing Associates recognized the important connection between housing and wellness and recovery. On July 24, 2019, Monarch Housing Associates, the Mental Health Association of New Jersey (MHANJ), and 35 other partner organizations from New Jersey traveled to D.C. for the annual Congressional Reception. Advocates carried the message that Opportunity Starts at Home: Building a Necessary and Secure Foundation for Health Communities.

Attendees at the event and individuals impacted by homelessness reminded our elected officials in Washington that housing is a right, housing is health care and affordable housing creates healthy communities.