Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Homelessness: think it can't happen to you?

Homelessness: think it can't happen to you?

Deputies Refuse to Evict 103-Year-Old From Home
As the foreclosure machine rumbles on, many Americans continue to lose homes that they have lived in for decades. The crisis has claimed the homes of more than 2.7 million Americans who took out a loan between 2004 and 2008 alone, while another 3.6 million from that group teeter on the brink of default. Banks are on track to repossess around 800,000 homes this year.

A 103-year-old and her 83-year-old daughter living in Atlanta looked poised to suffer that fate Tuesday when they were scheduled to be evicted from their home of 53 years.

But an act of compassion has left them holding on: The sheriff's deputies and moving company tasked with carrying out the eviction refused to remove the two from their home after seeing centenarian Vita Lee. Despite that, Lee's daughter was rushed to the hospital, perhaps because of the stressful circumstances of the planned eviction.

Lee, who will turn 104 within weeks, told WSB-TV/Channel 2 that she is hopeful that she can work out a deal with her lender, Deutsche Bank. A local community activist says the family has been "waging war" with the bank for years.

Lee's reprieve from eviction is one of the latest cases of homeowners avoiding foreclosure, thanks to acts of good Samaritans. Recently, a disabled veteran who sustained severe injuries in Afghanistan, held on to his home in Costa Mesa, Calif., after news of an imminent foreclosure on the house prompted a flood of donations. And earlier this month another vet was able to halt foreclosure on his home after gathering more than 14,000 signatures protesting the proceedings against him.

But as millions are well aware, homeowners normally can't count on the kindness of others to help them hold on to their homes. The case of a 101-year-old woman who lost her Detroit home to foreclosure serves as a grim reminder of this fact.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kiwanis Club of Jackson hosts community dinner

The Kiwanis Club of Jackson, along with other community volunteers, sponsored a community dinner Nov. 17th.  While the Kiwanis club participated in the past two community dinners at the Lakewood library branch, this was the first time the club independently sponsored it.

The club donated several turkeys, 50 pounds of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetables, homemade turkey soup, cranberry sauce, biscuits, drinks (apple cider, iced tea, coffee, and soda,) and several desserts.

A baker's dozen club members cooked and served the food.  They were helped by members of the Jackson Helping Hands Committee, Key Club members from Jackson's high schools, TAB members, and friends of the Kiwanis club.

Members of the John Wesley Stern band performed during the dinner.

About 120 people from the community came out.  The left overs were brought to the people living in Tent City on Cedar Bridge Avenue in Lakewood.

A slideshow of photos from the dinner can be found at 

Family Promise of Southern Ocean County news

Nov. 28, 2011

Presented are excerpts from their newsletter. 

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR FRIENDS AT SHANTYTOWN! A number of congregations worked together to host a Shantytown event in Manahawkin Lake Park. It drew great attention to the problem of homelessness in our community, and transformed some lives! Job well done!
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF OUR EMAIL NEWS EFFORT: 152 of you read our news last week. We were late this week because of Thankgiving, but this Thursday we'll send out a note about our intake and more congregational hosting information. Keep reading and forward the newsletter to your friends, or ask them to sign up on our website. If we grow our list, more people can celebrate with us as we make a difference in the lives of homeless families!

We have a location for hosting (December 24 - December 31 at St. Mary's Parish Center) but we need to assemble a team to provide meals, hosting, sleepover, etc... If you can help, please respond to this email. Marianne from Grace Calvary is coordinating the hosting for that week, and we'll see that you get put together!

VOLUNTEERS 10:30-12:30
If you are interested in attending or know someone that is please contact me through phone or email for upcoming dates and times of monthly volunteer trainings.
Coordinator Training
Mandatory for All Coordinators
   *This can be rescheduled individually with Director

WHERE: Ocean Community Church
1492 Rt. 72 West, Manahawkin



THERE ARE MORE WEEKS ALREADY SCHEDULED FURTHER ON, but if your church hasn't set your dates for 2012 with us yet, let us know by replying to this email and we'll get in touch with a calendar on hand!

We are gathering potential families for our program. They can make application by contacting Cheryl at Family Promise of SOC, 338 South Main Street, Barnegat, NJ 08005, 609-994-3317 or by replying to this email. Here are the criteria for families:
·      Adult parent must have at least 1 child under the age of 18
·      Does not have a permanent place to live
·      Has own car or the ability to secure transportation within short period of time while in program
·      Is currently employed or able to secure employment prior to entrance into the program
·      Has no current issues with drugs and alcohol
·      Has no untreated health issues
·      Must complete all intake requirements
·      Is willing and able to accept all Program Guidelines
·      Program is limited to 14 people

Sunday, November 27, 2011

60 Minutes once more addresses homelessness

60 Minutes produced another story on homelessness, primarily amongst children.  They say 25% of the children inour country live in poverty.  Many are homeless.

Here is a link to 60 Minutes Overtime that disucsses how they assembled their report:

Month postponement in court case

Judge Foster has granted a one-month postponement in the hearing to oust residents of Tent City.  The new date is Jan. 6 @ 9 a.m.  Judge Foster's courtroom is Courtroom #3, 100 Hooper Avenue.

Monday, November 21, 2011

2 Catholic groups support homeless, host BBQ at Tent City

The St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Knights of Columbus at St. Mary at the Lake Church hosted a BBQ for the people living in Tent City, providing not only food but also support for them in their lawsuit against the township.

"We're making a statement that there are poeple behind these people," said Bob Castellano, president of St. Vincent de Paul Society, in an Asbury Park Press article.

The full text of the article can be found at

(Posted at 7:40 pm)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Freeholders nix follow up discussion until litigation is resolved

I first want to thank the Freeholders for setting aside time in their October 16th meeting agenda to give the community partners of Ocean County’s homeless an opportunity to address the needs of the homeless.  The freeholders were also generous with their time to allow members of the audience a chance to share their experiences and support of the homeless.
The speakers were treated with respect and courtesy by the freeholders and just about everyone left with a feeling that something positive happened and we were all entering new territory in solving homelessness in Ocean County.
One of the most important lessons the homeless community has learned from three forums is the need to work collaboratively with several groups to end homelessness in Ocean County: county legislators, business people, clergy, community activists, and the homeless.  No one group has all the answers, nor all the resources.
At the conclusion of the presentation I offered an invitation to the freeholders to join in a collaborative effort and discuss the homeless situation.
I am sorry, and I know many others are disappointed, in the freeholders’ decision to not sit down to discuss the issue in more depth.  We do realize that their decision still allows us to meet together in the future when the litigation is resolved.
The saddest part of the freeholders’ decision is its effect on the homeless.  While we are in our warm beds they are out there in the elements.  While we debate, they suffer.
The community partners will continue to work to improve the services and the way they are delivered to the homeless.  And we will leave an open space at the table to welcome the county officials to join us.

Asbury Park Press editorial, Nov. 18, 2011

Time to tackle homelessness
For the past several years, the Ocean County Freeholders’ response to the homelessness problem has been to wish that it would go away.  It won’t.  On Tuesday night, about 200 people gathered in Lakewood town square after they walked with lanterns for a mile from Tent City to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless and call on officials once again to provide them a shelter in Ocean County.
The peaceful demonstration was one more chapter in the years-old story of the Ocean County freeholders’ unwillingness to provide shelter for the homeless in their midst.  The failure is found most conspicuously in Tent City in Lakewood, where dozens of people have taken up “residence.”
Lakewood filed a lawsuit last year to evict Tent City residents from township-owned land in the woods off Cedar Bridge Avenue.  Eventually, Lakewood agreed to allow the tentdwellers to stay on a temporary basis.  But the lawsuit, which drew a countersuit from an attorney representing Tent City residents, continues, with a hearing set for Dec. 2.
The problem in Ocean County, however, transcends Tent City.  According to Roseland attorney and activist Jeffrey J. Wild, in a 32-month period, the county Board of Social Services turned down 3,774 applications for assistance.  Wild argues the county has failed to spend an annual $20 million budgeted to care for the homeless in either an efficient or humane manner.
The Board of Freeholders may be right in claiming that government has no constitutional or other legal obligation to provide such a shelter.  It may have decided that the moral issue of homelessness is not in its purview.  But the issue may soon begin to hit Ocean County hard in the pocketbook.  It shouldn’t come to that.
Last month, the Atlantic City Rescue Mission, a nonprofit Christian social service ministry that operated a shelter in Atlantic City, filed a lawsuit against Ocean County seeking reimbursement for about $2 million in costs since 2005 associated with providing emergency shelter for homeless people who previously resided in Ocean County.
Homelessness has been a longstanding problem in Ocean County.  As we have argued before, the freeholders should turn the tent community into a sanctioned temporary shelter until a permanent  county-funded, privately operated shelter can be built.
Some of the homeless in Ocean County are those with substance abuse problems and/or mental illness who have been reluctant to leave Tent City.  But many are those who have fallen on bad luck and hard times.  All of them need some help.  The county should do the right thing instead of continuing its vain attempt to defend hard-heartedness.

Featured Letter to the Editor in Friday’s (Nov. 18th) Asbury Park Press

Tent City plight shows need to better help the homeless
As another winter looms ahead, the residents of Tent City – about 80 diverse souls – will have to muster all possible strength, with the help of their community partners, to weather whatever challenges nature thrusts upon them again.
The appeal from the community – more than 150 of whom showed up for the Ocean County freeholders meeting on Oct. 19 and shared a trove of ideas for more permanent solutions – seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
And now Lakewood is seeking a court order to close Tent City and turn out the residents to the street, just as winter rounds the corner.
Tent City is the alternative that people desperate for some shelter have put together.  It is not the perfect solution, but one that ensures the residents will have some roof over their heads, a warm meal, a warm-enough bed and a community to support them when none other is available.
As newly elected representatives take office in Lakewood and Ocean County, it is imperative that they take a more compelling position on the homeless.
Instead of continuing to waste taxpayer money on stop-gap solutions such as motels, they need to work with those in the community who have been advocating for more permanent ways to house the homeless and work out a plan that is both humane and fiscally responsible as soon as possible.
The eyes of the world are on Tent City, and this is Lakewood’s and Ocean County’s opportunity to show that here in this community each person matters, no matter how disadvantaged they are.
Rumu DasGupta
(Rumu DasGupta is a professor of sociology at Georgian Court University.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Final rule on homeless definition released

On November 15, 2011 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released the final rule on the definition of homelessness. The new definition of homelessness will take effect 30 days after being published in the Federal Register. The final rule provides detailed explanations for the new categories under which households can qualify as homeless as well as the documentation requirements for agencies providing services. Persons may qualify as homeless under one of four categories:
1. Household lacks regular, fixed, stable nighttime residence
2. Household is at imminent risk of losing housing within 14 days
3. Youth 25 and younger or family doubled up or qualifying under other federal statutes 4. Households fleeing domestic violence or other life threatening situations

Shantytown Fundraising Effort by local churches Sat & Sun, Nov 19, 20

From Family Promise of Southern Ocean County, an explanation of Shantytown:

Shantytown, a community outreach to the homeless and hungry of Southern Ocean county, will be held at Manahawkin Lake Park from 6:00 pm Saturday, November 19 to 8:00 am Sunday, November 20.  The event will be open to the public  Saturday evening for a clothing and canned food drive.  You may also sponsor participants who will “spend the night in a box, so someone else won’t have to.”  All proceeds will benefit local area homeless outreaches and food pantries.  Shantytown is a community action project of a coalition of 7 area churches.  For further information or to make donations, email or visit our web page at Print a flyer for your bulletin board.

(Posted 7:29 p.m.)

Family Promise of SOC president supports OC enactment of Housing Trust Fund

Testimony of Daniel F Lundy, President, Family Promise of Southern Ocean County, Inc.
 Meeting of  Board of Freeholders 
 October 18, 2011
 My name is Daniel Lundy and I am the President of Family Promise of Southern Ocean County (FPSOC), a nonprofit corporation composed of 22 religious congregations in southern Ocean County. We provide temporary shelter, meals and case management to homeless families, primarily those not on public assistance--the working poor.
Over the past two years we have provided more than 7000 bed nights of shelter and more than 20,000 meals to these folks and helped them become permanently housed and self sufficient.
Our board of trustees, representing a broad cross section of the residents of SOC, met last night and unanimously resolved that I should testify at this hearing, on behalf of homeless families. Specifically, they ask that you establish a homeless trust fund, similar to what has been done in Mercer and other counties, and enact a funding source through a $3.00 fee that would apply to every document filed in the county. I am advised that this fee would raise several hundred thousand dollars annually. 
Last year there were more than 65,000 foreclosure filings in New Jersey and over 5,000 in Ocean County. A court imposed moratorium was imposed in December to forestall such filings until irregularities and fraudulent practices by the mortgagee banks were investigated and precluded. On August 15th  of this year the six largest banks obtained court permission to resume uncontested foreclosures by demonstrating that they have taken steps to remedy this problem--improper robo-signing and other shoddy practices. In the near future therefore we can expect a flood of foreclosures.
The lack of affordable housing in our county places a severe strain on families that are forced out of their homes. It affects not only them but entire neighborhoods as forced vacancies occur.  I submit  there are few challenges that will face our county that are more significant than the threatened homelessness that now looms. 
I urge you to address this issue by establishing the housing trust and and adopting a broad range of other measures that will make affordable housing a reality in Ocean County.

(Posted 7:10 p.m.)

Family Promise of Southern Ocean County new newsletter

Family Promise of Southern Ocean County has released its latest newsletter.  Sign up for it at their Web site .

This issue includes:
  • Can you help us for Christmas week?
  • Intake for new families.
  • Shantytown @ Manahawkin Lake Park
  • Text of President Dan Lundy's message to the Ocean County Freeholders Oct. 19, supporting enactment of the Housing Trust Fund.
  • Are housing programs endangered by the Federal Budget Control Act's Super Committee?
  • The Appellate Division blocked the governor's interim procedures that would have undercut the Fair Housing Act's requirement to provide affordable housing.
  • Help wanted: part-time administrative assistant.

The full text is in their newsletter. Sign up now.

(Posted 7:05 p.m.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

March of support for Ocean County homeless a great success

About 250-300 people attended a march and rally of support for Ocean County's homeless Tuesday Nov. 15, walking from Tent City to the town's municipal building.  Participatns included the homeless, clergy, college students from GCU and OCC, business people and community members.

The mile-long march kicked off a little after 5:30 p.m. and took about half an hour to complete.

Lakewood police accompanied the marchers through the whole trip and provided protection as the marchers crossed the streets and driveways.

A few snapshots of the marchers can be found at the following Flickr slideshow: 

March of Support reminder

Just a reminder: today's walk of support for Ocean County's homeless will be held rain or shine.  It steps off at 5:30 at Tent City, proceeds along Cedar Bridge Avenue and ends at the municipal building.  And on WOBM-FM this morning the assistant mayor said he supports the group's right to march.  He also supports the goal to not make this a political statement, the same thing the group advocated during the presentation to the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders four weeks ago.
Posted 7:06 AM EST

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 meals

Ocean County Hunger Relief has announced that the following locations will be providing Thanksgiving meals:


Church of Epiphany, 615 Thiele Road, Brick: Nov 24 @ Noon.  (732) 458-0220.  Deliveries will be made upon request.  Volunteers needed.  Call to RSVP.


Lacey United Methodist Churs, 203 Lacey Rd, Forked River. Nov. 24 1 pm. (609) 693-5222.  RSVP by Nov. 23rd.


Lakehurst United Methodist Church, Pine & Elm St. Nov. 24 12-2 pm.  Please RSVP (908) 278-4654.


Macedonia Baptist Church, 143 John St., Nov. 24 11 am to 1 pm.  Deliveries will be made upon request.  Volunteers needed.

Calvary Lighthouse Church, 1133 East County Line Rd, Nov. 24 11 am - 3 pm. (732) 942-1541 to RSVP.

Long Beach Island:

St. Francis of Assissi Parish Thanksgiving dinner sponsored by Youth Ministry, 4700 Long Beach Blvd, gym.  Nov. 24 12-2 pm.  Please RSVP (609) 636-2793.  Deliveries available.

Point Pleasant Beach:

St. Gregory's with the Elks Club, 820 Arnold Av, Nov. 24 1-3 pm. (732) 892-8105. (Deliveries will be made upon request.)

Point Pleasant Boro: 

St. Martha Church, 3800 Herbertsville Rd.  Nov. 24 1 - 4 pm. (732) 295-3630.  Delivery upon request.  Must call in advance.

Seaside Heights:

Knights of Columbus Council 8415, Simon's Soup Kitchen, Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish hall at Grant & Central Avenues, Nov. 24, 1-2 pm. (Full Thanksgiving dinner.)

Toms River:

First United Methodist Church of Toms River, 129 Chestnut St., Nov. 24 @ 1 pm. (732) 349-8155.  You must call to make a reservation.

Salvation Army/Hearty Helpings, 1738 Route 37 East, Nov. 23 @ 5 pm sharp.

Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 1500 Hooper Av, Nov. 24th, 12-4 pm.  Please RSVP (732) 255-4455.  Make a reservation by Nov. 20th.

Thanksgiving Feast for the less privileged families in our community at: Cookie Cab (across from Ocean County Library) Washington St. free meal from 12 noon - 4pm (732) 341- 1000 X 8474 or (732) 966-4989

Family Promise to accept families Dec. 11

Family Promise of Southern Ocean County is currently taking referrals for services and will be re-launching the program beginning Dec.11, 2011. If you know of any family residing in Southern Ocean County area that meets all the below criteria please have them contact 609-994-3317.


·        Adult parent must have at least 1 child under the age of 18

·        Does not have a permanent place to live and is from Southern Ocean County area

·        Has own car or the ability to secure transportation within short period of time while in program

·        Is currently employed or able to secure employment prior to entrance into the program

·        Has no current issues with drugs and alcohol

·        Has no untreated health issues

·        Must complete all intake requirements

·        Is willing and able to accept all Program Guidelines

·        Program is limited to 14 people
(Posted 8 pm EST)


This is a test, written @ 1:54 p.m.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Anti-bullying program offered Dec. 8 in TR - free

Unity Through Diversity
P. O. Box 2191 Toms River, NJ  08754-2191
Telephone: (732) 929-2027
Richard Biolsi, Chairman
November 9, 2011


What: Informational program about Cyber bullying: speakers, movie, Q&A
When: Thursday Dec. 8 @ 6:30 p.m.
Where: Toms River branch

CONTACT:       Sgt. Cynthia Boyd, 732-929-2027
                        Larry Meegan, 732-349-6200, ext. 5906

Halting cyber bullying: a parental guide

TOMS RIVER –   The Ocean County Human Relations Commission will present “Cyber bullying: What You Need to Know as a Parent” Thursday Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in Ocean County Library’s Mancini Hall at the Toms River branch, 101 Washington St.

The program will feature the movie “Sticks and Stones.”

The movie examines the dangers and consequences of cyber bullying through the experiences of a young man who is taunted by a bully and abandoned by his friends.  “Sticks and Stones” looks as several relevant issues that face today’s teens that are of concern to parents, particularly regarding the dangers of Internet bullying, harassment, peer pressure, the role of the bystander, hate speech and suicide.

Detective James Hill, High Tech Crime Unit Supervisor in the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, will introduce the movie and offer suggestions for how parents can help their children to deal with the dangers inherent in online communications.

Tom Mongelli, Shore News Bureau Chief for Townsquare Media, will be the emcee for the program and facilitate a discussion with the audience after the movie is shown.

Anthony Pierro, Supervising Assistant Prosecutor in the Juvenile Justice Division, will explain the new anti-bullying laws in New Jersey.

The presentation is free and designed for parents, teachers and other interested adults.  Because of the sensitive nature of the film, anyone under the age of 18 will not be admitted.

Registration for the program begins Nov. 10 and can be made by contacting the library operator (732) 349-6200 or (609) 971-0514, on online at .

Continuing education credits are available.

The presentation is cosponsored by the Ocean County Library, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Jersey Shore PFLAG, and the Ocean County College Office of Multicultural Services.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Court Hearing Regarding Misappropriation of Housing Trust Funds by Cherry Hill

From the Fair Share Housing Center blog.
Posted by Kevin Walsh, Nov. 11, 2011
On Monday, November 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm in Camden, the Camden and Southern Burlington County Branches of the NAACP and Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC) will argue before Judge Robert Millenky of the Superior Court that Cherry Hill Township has violated state law by:
·         Misappropriating nearly $1 million in funds from a trust fund required by state law to be used only for housing families, people with disabilities and seniors. Any use of the funds is required to be approved by the court, but the Township frequently spent trust funds without court approval.
·         Illegally commingling trust funds with other municipal funds in violation of state law.
·         Illegally using at least $511,000 on general municipal expenses, which is expressly prohibited by state law.
·         Failing to maintain bank statements for the account in violation of state law.
·         Failing to collect interest on the account in violation of state law.
·         Misrepresenting how much was collected in order to cover-up its illegal misappropriation of trust funds.

The Township has acknowledged misappropriating funds, but has demanded that it not be required to return the funds to the trust fund. The NAACP Branches and FSHC have asked the Court to take control of the fund, order an audit, and order the Township to reimburse the trust fund for misappropriated funds and missing interest. The NAACP Branches and FSHC have been litigating to force Cherry Hill to comply with the Mount Laurel doctrine since the 1980s, most recently through litigation filed in 2001.

The hearing will occur in Judge Millenky’s courtroom at the Superior Court courthouse in Camden located at 101 South 5th Street, Camden, NJ 08103.

To request copies of the briefs and appendices filed in this matter, please send an email to .

Female veterans twice as likely to be homeless

From Philadelphia's monthly newspaper “One Step Away”

The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs released the second annual veteran-specific supplement to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report .

The point-in-time count of veterans experiencing homelessness rose 1 percent to 76,329 last year.  The report suggests that female veterans are twice as likely as their non-veteran counterparts to experience homelessness.  Poor female veterans are three times as likely to experience homelessness as their non-veteran counterparts living in poverty.  In fact, it can be said that military service heightens the American woman’s risk of experiencing homelessness.

The report also found that African Americans are strongly over-represented in the homeless veterans population.  African Americans make up only 10 percent of the veteran population, but make up approximately 35 percent of the homeless veteran population.  Latino/Hispanic veterans constitute 12 percent of the homeless veterans population but only 8 percent of the veteran population.

Veterans Day a Reminder That There’s More to Be Done

From the Homelessness Law blog.
Nov. 11, 2011
On this Veterans Day, I thought I’d write about why I think ending homelessness for veterans is so important, and really is achievable.  I am not a veteran.  I don’t have any family members who were veterans.  And most of my friends aren’t veterans either.
And yet, I’m outraged that even a single veteran is homeless tonight, and I’d like our country to keep on the task of doing something about that.  We know a lot about homeless veterans – honestly we’ve probably spent more time studying the issue than we need to.  But let’s throw out the numbers, statistics, and data, and just get right down to some common sense – every veteran who is homeless today, whether they served in wartime or during a period of peace, has served the country.  And each one now needs the country to help them.  So let’s roll up our sleeves and get going.
It might surprise you to learn that we already are.  There are 75,000 homeless veterans today, down from more than 100,000 a few short years ago.  Unlike with other homeless populations, and even with recent wars resulting in more homeless veterans, veterans homelessness is going in the right direction.  We’re giving apartments to 10,000 veterans a year (sometimes including a veteran with a spouse and / or children), and housing thousands more with short term help until they get back on their feet – veterans are very resilient.  And happily, though we aren’t all the way there yet, fewer and fewer new veterans are becoming homeless as prevention efforts ramp up.
While government is stepping up to help homeless veterans, we could do more.  Apartments for 10,000 vets a year?  $75 million.  A drop in the bucket even in this time of concern over deficits.  Why not double that?  Or triple it.  It would probably mean one less missile for the Department of Defense.  But something tells me they’ve got extra.  And after all, they created much of the problem, by discharging a lot of soldiers without making sure they had a safe place to go and a stable path to long term success.  So I’ll enjoy my day off today, but Monday I’ll be right back to work making sure that on future Veteran’s Days I won’t have to walk past a veteran sleeping outdoors on my way to celebrate his service.
- Jeremy Rosen, Policy Director

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NYT editorial: Ever More Homeless Families

Description: New York Times
Published: October 30, 2011
An increase in poverty and rising rents produced a spike in homelessness among families in recent years. With the economy still weak and 14 million people out of work, the situation is bound to get worse.
Without an intensive federal effort to finance housing programs, the burden will fall on states and cities that are already unable to handle growing social needs.
The typical victim of chronic homelessness is a single man who suffers from a disabling condition like mental illness. Thanks to a sustained investment in specialized housing by the federal and state governments, this population has actually declined over the last four years. But the startling report to Congress issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development last June found that the number of homeless families that have turned to shelters jumped by 20 percent, to 567,334 in 2010 from 473,541 in 2007.
Things would no doubt be considerably worse without the $1.5 billion homelessness prevention program that Congress passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. With that money, HUD helped to prevent more than a million people from becoming homeless. It provided them with short- and medium-term rental assistance, moving expenses and other services. It quickly re-housed those who landed in shelters. With most of that recovery money gone, it is important that Congress provide the $2.4 billion in homeless assistance funding that the administration has requested.
Census data showing a big increase in the number of families living doubled up with friends and relatives suggests that another wave of homelessness may be in the offing. With these clear needs, Congress must preserve and strengthen the programs that are aimed at helping the vulnerable. It should also direct more money into a program that builds and renovates affordable housing, which is in increasingly short supply.

UN: Criminalization Laws Violate Human Rights

From the "Homelessness Law Blog"
On October 28, I had the opportunity to participate in a groundbreaking meeting between U.N. officials; leaders of NGOs; and members of the U.S. State Department, Department of Justice (DOJ), and HUD to discuss the criminalization of homelessness and poverty and its human rights implications, as well as strategies for opposing such policies.

The meeting, organized by the Law Center, was in response to a U.N. report documenting how criminalization practices in the U.S. and other countries violate internationally recognized human rights standards.  As the Program for Human Rights and the Global Economy fall fellow at the Law Center, I was thrilled to take part in such an important meeting
The criminalization report, presented to the U.N. in October, identified four major human rights violations:
  •          Control of behavior of people in public spaces. For example, the criminalization of panhandling, eating, and sleeping.
  •          Discriminatory urban planning and zoning regulations. For example, there is an increasing trend of moving homeless and poor people to the outskirts of cities.
  •          Excessive and arbitrary restrictions on qualifying for public benefits. The U.S. has implemented a severe public benefits screening process, with the stated goal of avoiding fraud.
  •        The use of detention in punishing homeless and poor people. The criminal justice system has a disproportionate effect on certain communities.
To read the whole story press "ctrl" and click here .

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Walk to support Ocean County's homeless

Vans will shuttle walkers from
the Lakewood Community Square
(Clifton Av between Third and Fourth Street)
to Tent City between 5 and 5:30 p.m.

The march will begin at Tent City @ 5:30 p.m.
A candlelight vigil will begin at 6 p.m. outside town hall.
Those unable to march can welcome the walkers at town hall.

No one should be without a roof over their head.
We can end homelessness. We have the ways. We need the will.

Updates can be found at the Ocean County Homeless blog:

Supporting groups include STEPS, HELP, Kiwanis Club of Jackson, and many area churches.


March from Tent City, Cedar Bridge Av.
to the Lakewood Municipal Building.
Rain or shine.

Friday, November 4, 2011

East Dover Baptist appeal

Help support East Dover Baptist Church help the homeless with its fourth annual Tinsel Drive.  Tinsel refers to all-weather blankets that th ehomeless use during the winter months.

Checks or donations can be dropped off or mailed to East Dover Baptist Church, 974 Bay Av., Toms River  08753.  Memo:Tinsel blanket.  They can also be dropped off at the Town & Country Diner, Rt. 37.

The congregation of EDBC thanks you for your support.

Pastor Michael M. Mazer

Steve Nagel's comments

Steve Nagel, Executive Director of Info-Line, Middlesex County, addressed the Ocean County Board of Freeholders during our session with them in October.  Here are his notes from his presentation:

The homeless are not the Clem Kliddlehopper of Red Skelton's day, but are:
  • recently unemployed
  • underemployed and unable to afford housing
  • the majority of our homeless are children.  The National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates the average age of a  homeless person, nationally, it 6 years old
How many of us are only one or two paychecks away from homelessness?

Middlesex County is addressing this through:
  • organizing two years ago a 501 (c) 3 to administer the management of the county's 10-year plan to end homelessness
  • implemented the Homeless Trust Fund.  The first round of funding of over $100K is going to non-profits that support the homeless.  (The Middlesex County Clerk wantes me to share with you how tere was very little resistance to implementing the fund, and it has not been an issue to implement or administer it.)
  • starting to implement the Housing First model.  Middlesex County is reallocating HUD vouchers to provide to the Continuum of Care to provide housing vouchers to the homeless and precariously housed.
  • the engagement of a longitudinal study to see the savings on moving people out of homelessness and into permanent housing.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Court date rescheduled

Jeff Wild writes:

We requested and obtained an additional two weeks to respond to Lakewood's motion.  Accordingly, the hearing on the motion is being moved to Friday, December 2 at 9 a.m.    The hearing will still occur in Judge Foster's courtroom at the Superior Court of New Jersey at 100 Hooper Avenue in Toms River.