Wednesday, May 25, 2011

County press release: foreclosure help forum at TR library

Public Educational Forum Focuses on Foreclosure Help 5/24/2011

TOMS RIVER – From an overview of the statewide Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Initiative to information on how to fight foreclosure scams, an informational seminar scheduled for June 16 will provide homeowners and residents with important information on help and resources available for anyone facing foreclosure.

"During these very difficult economic times, keeping people in their homes is imperative," said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. "One of the ways we can help is by providing good information that can help educate, raise awareness and provide answers to our citizens."

"Foreclosure: Moving from Fear to Positive Action" will be presented at the Ocean County Library, 101 Washington Street beginning Thursday June 16 at 6:30 p.m The seminar is free however registration is required and can be made by calling the library at 732-349-6200.

The program is being hosted by the Ocean County Human Relations Commission with the support of the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and the Ocean County Library in conjunction with the Union County Human Relations Commission and the New Jersey Public Defender's Office of Dispute Settlement.

Other sponsors include Jersey Shore PFLAG, Central Ocean Rotary, Kiwanis International of Jackson and Ocean County College Office of Multicultural Services.

"Growing concerns over keeping your home can make individuals anxious and vulnerable," said Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford. "We want our residents to know that scam artists are looking to prey on those vulnerabilities. This seminar will provide residents with tools to make sure they are not victims of mortgage scams and to give them answers that might help them during a difficult time."

Speakers will include Elizabeth Hulse, of the Office of Dispute Settlement, New Jersey Office of the Public Defender, who will provide an overview of the New Jersey Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Initiative; Stephone Mickler, New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, will address the role of the agency; Elaine Molen, certified personal finance counselor, Garden State Consumer Credit Counseling, will talk about how housing counselors can help; Kimberly Knapp, Ocean County Superior Court, will provide a general overview of mediation and Margaret Anastos, Director of Outreach, state Division of Consumer Affairs, will address how to fight foreclosure scams.

Richard Biolsi, chairman of the Ocean County Human Relations Commission, said the commission thought it important to host this seminar in Ocean County because foreclosure can affect anyone.

"Loss of employment, a devastating illness, divorce, death of a spouse, there are so many things that can have a negative impact on our finances," Biolsi said. "Foreclosure can happen to anyone. We want to make sure people are armed with good information that can help them move from fear to positive action."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Star-Ledger editorial-Let’s do something about providing affordable housing

Housing still out of reach for many N.J. residents

Published: Thursday, May 19, 2011, 6:00 AM Updated: Thursday, May 19, 2011, 4:42 PM
By Star-Ledger Editorial Board The Star-Ledger

A new report rates New Jersey as the fourth most expensive state for housing. That should be a spur to lawmakers and Gov. Chris Christie to tackle — once again — the state’s cumbersome and ineffectual housing policy. Their efforts came to a halt earlier this year with Christie’s conditional veto of a bill supported by housing advocates, builders and municipal leaders. It abolished the Council on Affordable Housing and created options for municipalities to provide affordable units if they didn’t already have 10 percent in their existing housing stock.

“Out of Reach,” a report by the Low Income Housing Coalition and the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, documents the continuing crisis in affordability: A family must earn $51,044 a year to afford a two-bedroom apartment priced at the fair market rent of $1,276 a month. A typical renter in the state earns $40,381 a year, placing a modest rental beyond the reach of most hourly workers, the report said.

Arnold Cohen, the network’s policy coordinator, said about 1 million people in the state pay more than half of their income for housing; about two-thirds are homeowners and one-third are renters. Wages have not kept pace with living costs; even people holding two low-wage jobs can barely keep up.

And when affordable apartments come on the market, the long, long line forms on the right. A Moorestown nonprofit in Burlington County found that out two years ago when it had 2,000 applicants — all working people — for 104 apartments leasing for between $350 and $850 a month. Advocates for the homeless in Lakewood’s tent city are in court to get Ocean County to build a shelter. Residents of Camden’s homeless encampment want jobs revitalizing thousands of the city’s abandoned properties that they can call home. Kevin Walsh, of the Fair Share Housing Center, said it is busy ensuring Hoboken, Morristown and West Windsor do not reduce the number of affordable units that are supposed to be a part of new development. With the fate of COAH in limbo, many towns have opted to do nothing.

And it’s not just advocates that see the problem. “Clearly there’s an affordability issue in state,” said Michael Cerra, senior legislative analyst for the New Jersey State League of Municipalities. “It’s not just urban centers, but suburban areas. There’s a disconnect between stated policy and implementation, and the two haven’t been bridged yet.”

It’s past time for Christie and the Legislature to bridge their differences and try again. This problem is not going away. It’s getting worse.

Correction: This editorial incorrectly characterized the housing bill that Gov. Christie conditionally vetoed earlier this year. The bill did not have the support of municipal leaders, who supported the veto. The Star-Ledger regrets the error.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New political season begins. Questions?

The new political season begins and people are becoming more supportive of the homeless and their needs. As the politicians gather to seek your vote this is the time to bring your concerns about the homeless to them.

Use this post to contribute questions you can ask the candidates about such things as shelters, aid to the homeless, safety nets to catch families before they become homeless. What plans to the politicians have to meet those needs?

Write your questions as a comment to this posting. And feel free to use any of them when you address the candidates. Remember to always be respectful. Do not become confrontational. If their answer supports what you believe in, let them know. And if you don't agree with them, let them know that, too.

Go with a friend, both for support and to help you remain on topic.

Be sure to share what you've learned from the candidates with others in your community.

And most important of all: be sure you are registered to vote and be sure you get out to the polls to vote.

So here are a couple of questions you can ask: Whose responsibility is it to house the homeless? Town? County? State?

How would you use your position to fix homelessness in your town, county or state?

What have you done to help the homeless?

Be sure to write your questions in the comment section of this post.

OC Freeholderes press release: Report focuses on children & families at risk of abuse

TOMS RIVER – The Ocean County Human Services Advisory Council and the Children's Inter Agency Coordinating Council recently completed a community needs assessment concerning children and families at risk of child abuse and neglect.
Public comment on the draft report is being accepted through May 19. The report can be accessed at .
Comments can be addressed to Jamie Hart, coordinator for the Ocean County Children's Inter Agency Coordinating Council by email at by calling her at 732-506-5374 or in writing at CN 2191, 1027 Hooper Ave., Building 2, Toms River, N.J. 08754-2191.
"Our advisory councils have worked diligently throughout this process," said Freeholder Gerry P. Little, who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Department of Human Services. "I want to recognize all of our volunteers and staff members in addition to the various other county advisory boards that participated in this effort. We work hard at identifying the needs of our children and families and then linking them with appropriate services that can help improve their quality of life."
The New Jersey Department of Children and Families requested the 21 counties to complete a community needs assessment concerning children and families at risk of child abuse and neglect.
According to the report's Executive Summary the county will use the document as the basis for advocacy related to service development, in the effort to meet the human services needs of children and families. Community based organizations are encouraged to reference the report and use the data compiled for future grant proposals and organizational strategic planning processes.
The report looks at eight different target areas including basic needs, behavioral health care, substance abuse treatment, services for youth preparing to leave the state Division of Youth and Family Services supervision, domestic violence services, early care and education, services for special needs youth and delinquency prevention.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

McKinney-Vento assistance grants

Congress has finally passed a budget for FY2011. McKinney-Vento homeless assistance grants received a $40 million increase. Congress chose to increase funding for the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) by $65 million. The $65 million increase will go almost entirely to prevention and rapid re-housing. This will mean an increase of about 35 percent.
To read more and to view the potential allocations by county use this link:
Please share this email with colleagues co-workers and associates.
Richard W. Brown
Chief Executive Officer
Monarch Housing Associates
29 Alden StreetSuite 1B
Cranford, NJ 07016-2156
908-272-5363 ext. 225 908-382-6309 (Fax)

OceanMHS open house 5/25

Please save the date for the Ocean Mental Health Service Open House at their newest location: 687 Atlantic City Blvd, Bayville NJ 08721 on May 25th from 4-7 p.m.
This event will be held at our newest location, 687 Atlantic City Boulevard, Bayville
I hope to see you there.
Christina Gaetano, Director of Development OceanMHS
Phone: 732-349-1977 x113

View the flyer at:

Announcement of New Projects Awarded for FY 2010 CoC Homeless Competition

HUD’s Secretary Shaun Donovan announced today that $216 million has been awarded to fund 691 new projects across the country that will provide housing and supportive services to thousands of homeless individuals and families.

To view the complete list of new projects awarded in the FY2010 CoC Homeless Assistance Programs competition, please visit “Current Highlights” on HUD’s Homelessness Resource (HRE) at Please visit HUD’s website to view the press release and awards by state.

CoC Debriefing
· Webcast: Tuesday, May 17th; 1:30-3:30 PM (EDT)
· Debriefing documents: HUD field offices will email the debriefing documents by May 16th to each CoC’s primary point of contact. As in past years, the debriefing documents will provide a detailed breakdown of the CoC’s score. Issues/Conditions & Grant Agreements
· Information on processing Issues and Conditions and Grant Agreements for the 2010 new projects will be provided by the end of May.
If you have any questions regarding the 2010 New Project Announcement, please contact your local HUD field office

Monarch Housing: Lobby Day May 19th

Lobby Day May 19th, Educate your representatives about investing in our economy by preserving the housing budget, including rental assistance, and making sure we have a housing policy that moves NJ forward. Tour the State House and get an insider’s view of the legislative process from where it all happens! Join us and the Housing and Community Development Network on May 19th for Lobby Day! For more information use this link: Please share this email.

Richard W. Brown
Chief Executive Officer
Monarch Housing Associates
29 Alden StreetSuite 1B
Cranford, NJ 07016-2156
908-272-5363 ext. 225
908-382-6309 (Fax)

housing "Out of Reach" to many NJ residents

The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, says the hourly wage a family must earn working 40 hours/week, 52 weeks a year to afford the rent and utilities for a safe and modest home in the private housing market, is $24.54.
They report this is an increase of 56% since 2000.
New Jersey is the fourth-most expensive state for renters to live in, trailing only Hawaii,  California and Maryland.  Washington DC is also more expensive than NJ.
The information comes from a national study, “Out of Reach 2011,” prepared by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington D.C.-based housing policy organization.  It provides other housing affordability data for every state, metropolitan area, combined non-metropolitan area, and county in the country.
More information iand links are available from The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey at &id=577:out-of-reach&catid=21:policy-main&Itemid=125

Jeff Wild: Homeless case still alive in the courts

I am pleased to report that the litigation on behalf of Ocean County's homeless continues.  As you may recall, the County asked the judge to dismiss all claims by the homeless that they have a legal right to shelter under NJ law.

The judge denied the County's motion to dismiss our claim that there is a right to shelter under a NJ statute, the Poor Laws.  The judge also said that we should amend this claim within 45 days to add more specifics about the existing NJ statutes relating to homelessness and the legal standard that we contend the County has failed to meet.

The judge observed, correctly, that the NJ Supreme Court has never decided the question of whether there is a right to shelter under New Jersey's constitution.  Because of the absence of such a holding the NJ Supreme Court (at least so far), the judge granted the County's motion to dismiss our separate count based on the NJ Constitution.  However, the case continues past today based on the other counts (our statutory claim plus our claim for "recoupment" of any expenses that we prove were not paid by the County in violation of a legal duty.  We have ordered the transcript and will need to study the judge's rulings in more detail.

Given that the case is still addressing the affirmative claims by the homeless against the County, the judge has not yet reached  the defenses of the homeless to Lakewood's Complaint seeking to eject the homeless from the woods without any other place to go.  Thus, In the meantime, the homeless have not been ejected and the tent city is safe for now.

Finally. The turnout today was fabulous.  The courtroom was filled with homeless men, women and children, together with many members of our Coalition, including advocates for the homeless (non-attorneys and attorneys) and members of the clergy and local congregations of many faiths (including Christian and Jewish congregations), plus students and representatives of the media.  No one can predict what will happen as the litigation continues, but one thing is certain:  with a Coalition like ours supporting them, the homeless are not alone.

Thanks to everyone!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Change in HELP meeting schedule

The next meeting of Homelessness Ended Through Local Partners (H.E.L.P.) will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 16, 2011 at the Presbyterian Church of Toms River

Please note that this month's meeting is not on the second Monday of the month, our usual day.  It has been postponed one week to enable people to attend the important presentation on poverty in Ocean and Monmouth Counties, which will take place on May 9, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. at Georgian Court University.  

For more information about the GCU program see the next post below this.

Important meeting Monday @ Georgian Court University

Poverty, An Issue Of Justice, Or A Political Issue?
A Regional Meeting With
The Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey

A Public Discussion Concerning
“Poverty In Ocean And Monmouth Counties -
Assessing New Jersey’s Progress In Combating Poverty
Just Released Statewide Statistics Shed New Light”

The Anti-Poverty Network

Georgian Court University - Department of:

(Sociology, Anthropology And Criminology)
Alive In Christ Lutheran Church Of Central NJ

Monday, May 9, 2011, 6:30 PM

Georgian Court University
(The GCU Little Theater)
900 Lakewood Ave. * Lakewood, New Jersey 08701


The Anti-Poverty Network (APN)
The Poverty Research Institute
with students and faculty from Georgian Court University

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Connie Pascale: Comments Concerning the 5-year Consolidated Plan

The Planning Board presents its findings to the Ocean County Freeholders Wednesday afternoon @ 4 p.m. Attorney Connie Pascale has examined the document and drafted a response to the proposals. His draft can be found at