Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Lakewood residents complain about Tent City

LAKEWOOD — Residents of the homeless encampment on Cedar Bridge Avenue are once again stirring controversy in the township.

Click here for the full article.

Hurricane Sandy fundraiser Jan. 24th

Townsquare Media New Jersey, R&R Marketing, Design Build Construction, and Circle Hyundai will come together with Jersey Shore consumers to help “Restore the Shore” on Thursday January 24th at Eagle Oaks Country Club in Farmingdale, NJ.  The evening begins at 6pm and will feature samples from over 50 wine and spirit brands from around the world, savory hors d’oeuvres from the culinary experts at Eagle Oaks Country Club, live music from Jersey Shore cover band, Daddy Pop, silent and live auctions, 50/50 raffle and more.

Tickets are available now for $35 ($45 day-of-show) at RestoretheShore .  All ticket sale and 50/50 raffle proceeds will benefit Hometown Heroes, a 501c3 dedicated to helping Jersey Shore families affected by Superstorm Sandy.

Effect of the fiscal cliff on the homeless

Homeless People Need 
Fiscal Support not Sequestering
A December 22, 2012, opinion piece in the Star-Ledger - Homelessness teeters on 'cliff' - articulated impact that sequestration will have on the homeless in NJ.
Robert Parker is CEO of NewBridge Services
By Robert Parker
Homelessness often exists under society's radar, but the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy has brought its emotional and financial toll into focus for thousands upon thousands of people driven from their homes.  

On any given day, thousands of people in New Jersey lack decent homes. Some crowd into spaces meant for far fewer people, while others live in shelters or on the streets - or wind up in emergency rooms and jails.  

Former President George W. Bush declared plans to tackle homelessness and President Obama has put forward his own. Two years ago, Obama released "Opening Doors," a road map for ending chronic homelessness among veterans by 2015 while eliminating child and family homelessness by 2020.  
Progress has been made on this ambitious, crucial initiative, but those strides would be dealt a major setback through massive spending cuts scheduled to take effect in January.

Unable to reach a deficit reduction plan last year, Congress adopted the Budget Control Act, which triggers the process of sequestration. It calls for automatic, across-the-board cuts to defense and discretionary domestic spending to the tune of $109 billion in 2013 and $1.2 trillion over nine years.

The impact on housing programs for society's most vulnerable would be devastating. Next year alone, an estimated 185,000 families and individuals would lose Section 8 vouchers that help pay their rent, and 145,900 people who rely on homeless assistance grants would lose shelter, according to the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding.

The availability of public housing would shrink. Communities would be left without $323 million in block grants to build and rehabilitate affordable units, to acquire property for such ends and to provide supportive services, which are necessary to help those with special needs achieve independence, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The lack of reasonably priced housing is crippling New Jersey. There were 1.15 million households here - a whopping 36 percent - unable to afford the basics of housing, food, transportation, health care and child care, according to a 2012 statewide study by the United Way of Northern New Jersey.

Nobody knows exactly how many people in New Jersey are waiting for affordable housing; more than 20,000 are on waiting lists, but those lists were closed years ago. And the fallout from Sandy will only heighten the problem, as some who lost their homes won't have the money to rebuild.

What we do know is sequestration would erase 9,700 Section 8 vouchers and $8.5 million in block grants that promote housing people can afford in the Garden State. And it would reverse the trend of moving people with special needs - including those with mental illness and developmental disabilities - out of institutions and into community living.

Sequestration would harm New Jersey not just socially, but financially: More people would wind up in public institutions, ERs and jails. Blighted properties that could have been turned into affordable housing would remain eyesores and magnets for mischief.

Now that the election season is over and with people still feeling the effects of Sandy, it is high time for Congress to find responsible ways to cut spending without forcing society's most vulnerable to take the biggest hit. 

Ending homelessness must remain a bipartisan priority. Our lawmakers must stop sequestration from taking effect and ensure that we continue on the path toward providing everyone with a safe, decent place to live.


From the OC Board of Social Services:
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, thousands of New Jersey residents have been
displaced from their homes and are in need of housing. The New Jersey
Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, an affiliated agency of the New Jersey
Department of Community Affairs, has partnered with the non-profit
organization Socialserve.com to provide housing location services for
Hurricane Sandy survivors. Long-term and short-term housing location
assistance is now available through the New Jersey Housing Resource Center
(NJHRC) located at
www.njhrc.gov . The NJHRC is a free service to assist
people in search of housing and to landlords who are looking to provide
housing. People without Internet access can call the bilingual toll-free
number 1-877-428-8844 for help using this service.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Donation opportunity to end homelessness

End of Year Giving Campaign
Greetings Friends,
Feeling thankful that your home survived Hurricane Sandy? 
Hurricane Sandy was very devastating to our state this year. Many homeowners lost all of their possessions. Family memories were washed away with the floodwaters. Can you imagine what would happen if you were living outdoors during the storm? What would happen if your emergency housing became flooded and you are left abandoned once again? Can you imagine living in your car during the storm and having to leave it because it was flooded? This is the case with many of our homeless neighbors.

Then, there are those who were on the verge of becoming homeless are now homeless. The proverbial bottom fell out for this vulnerable population.

Within the State of New Jersey there are approximately 29,011 homeless men, women, and children living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, on the streets and other places not fit for human habitation.

You can make a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable population – the homeless, by helping New Jersey's homeless with a end of year donation now.  Now, more than ever, we know that any of us could be homeless with just a little bad luck.  But with your tax-deductible donation, the NJ Coalition to End Homelessness can fund and advocate statewide for emergency and permanent solutions for the tens of thousands of NJ men, women and children who have no home this winter.

As we approach the year's end and are deciding where to donate we ask that you support the Coalition and its mission to end homelessness across the state of New Jersey.

To make your year-end donation click on the link below: 


Tonya R. Bryan
Executive Director

P I T training Jan 16: register by 1/9/13

There will be a training session for the Point In Time Count Wed. Jan. 16 from 1 till 3 p.m. at the Department of Human Services, building 2 in the third floor conference room.

If you or someone you know are interested in attending contact Susan Mascola at SMascola@co.ocean.nj.us  no later than January 9th.

Long term recovery committee formed in Ocean County

TOMS RIVER -  Hundreds of local volunteers, community service groups, and government and nonprofit agencies have formed the Ocean County Long Term Recovery Committee to coordinate the collection and disbursement of relief supplies, donations and services.
The committee, using models developed from lessons learned by FEMA during past events, will coordinate the reception and distribution of household supplies and building materials, and provide assistance with case management to navigate government regulations and provide emotional and spiritual support.
Information to contact the committee will be posted shortly.
The committee elected Ted Gooding, O.C.E.A.N. Inc., as chair; Eileen Coyne, Caregivers of New Jersey, as vice-chair; and Laura Pople, Seer Farms, as secretary.  Linda Gyimoty, United Way of Ocean County, was appointed the committee’s fiscal agent.
Subcommittees were formed Dec. 17. They will concentrate on case management; construction management; volunteer management; Information Technology; fundraising and budgeting; resource directory; policy and advocacy; grievance procedures; public relations; donations management; and emotional, mental and spiritual support.
The elected officers and the subcommittee chairs will serve on the committee’s executive board.
The committee’s next meeting will be held Wed. Jan. 3, 2013 at 10 a.m. in the Elks Club, 600 Washington St.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Foreclosure notes

Foreclosures Still Hit Home for Tens of Thousands in NJ bit.ly/Zf18ko

Fewer US homes entered foreclosure process in November, but repossessions surged, RealtyTrac Inc says: apne.ws/VDt8HF

NJ Hope and Healing Campaign – the behavioral health communities response to Hurricane Sandy!

This project is sponsored by the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Disaster and Terrorism Branch, through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in partnership with the Mental Health Association in New Jersey.

One of the roles of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey in NJ Hope and Healing
is the development and distribution of media and marketing material.   An important component of the campaign is to present a consistent message of “hope and healing” and drive people to the NJ Disaster Mental Health HelpLine  - 877-294-4357—For those seeking help with the emotional burden of recent storms and flooding”.   Crisis Counselors will be working on the grassroots level in all the impacted counties offering emotional support, education and information and referral. MHANJ wants to be sure all our partners in New Jersey’s recovery effort are aware of this campaign and can support its goals.
We want to keep everyone aware of media efforts, and provide access to marketing materials- to assure the broadest distribution and readership in the impacted areas of New Jersey.   Below is an outline of upcoming media efforts  and the marketing material we have created for this campaign.     Please feel free to share this information with your colleagues.    Join us in spreading the word.

  • Beginning Thursday November 29th and for the next four weeks,  weekly newspaper ads will be running in the major daily papers promoting the NJHH and the NJ Disaster Mental Health Helpline as the contact point.   Attached is a copy of the ad.  
  • Beginning 11/19/12 and running for four weeks with be a series .30  and .10 second spots promoting NJHH.   These will be running on targeted radio outlets during prime time, and will also include Spanish radios stations.
Community Marketing Materials
Materials will be distributed by Crisis Counselors at the community level at local events,  door to door, and through other community networks.

  • NJ Hope and Healing brochures in both English and Spanish have been printed in mass quantities.  A pdf copy of both brochures is attached. Please feel free to reproduce and distribute them.
  • NJ Hope and Healing posters in both English and Spanish have been printed.  If you would like copies of the printed poster contact:   njhopeandhealing@mhanj.org
  • Crisis Counselors working the community will each be wearing a brightly colored yellow-green vest with the “NJ Hope and Healing” logo on the front and back.    They will also have identification cards. Crisis Counselors are available to attend community meetings, meet with first responders and outreach directly to impacted neighborhoods.
In the coming weeks we will
undertake additional efforts to market our efforts.   We hope you can share these materials and spread the word that…
Hope and Healing is just a phone call away.

If you would like any additional information- please contact us at  

Point in Time survey questions answered

The Ocean County Department of Human Services held a PIT instruction meeting last week and answered a few questions about the procedures to use with those county residents who now find themselves homeless.

Their answers:

Couch surfing or living with friends or family is considered homeless for agency purposes BUT NOT for the PIT survey.  The PIT does not consider those individuals homeless for whatever reason, not sure why but that is there rule.

Individuals who own a home (with or without a mortgage) and renters who have leases and are living with friends or families fall under the “Temporary with friends or family” box in question one and as stated that is not a PIT definition of homeless.

Individuals who are engaged with an agency (nonprofit or the Board) and are not in Ocean County will not show in our homeless numbers as they are not in the County proper but we should fill surveys out for them because they are currently engaged in Ocean County funded programming.

For the counting of ages 0-18, 18-24, 24+.  I was told that for the 18-24 year olds we should encourage them to fill out their own survey if present but if they are not there and a parent is filling it out they will not be counted.  I’m not sure why but that was the decision that was made.

It is also essential for all surveys to address question 19 and make the connection to Sandy if they were displaced.  I was told that checking off “Natural Disaster” is the only way the state will be calculating the impacts of Sandy.

NLIHC proposal to fund affordable housing

From the National Low Income Housing Coalition:

I am thrilled to share some very exciting news with you.  Just this week, Community Development Solutions of Washington, DC became the 500th organization to sign on to NLIHC’s innovative proposal to fund affordable housing with savings from mortgage interest tax reform. We are off to a great start, but we need your help.

As we build support with advocacy organizations nationwide, I hope we can count you among our next 500 endorsers. Please sign on to our proposal today.

Your endorsement will send a powerful message that the mortgage interest deduction can be strengthened to help more middle and low income homeowners and that the savings can be used to end homelessness and create jobs by building more affordable rental homes for low income families. The proposal achieves these goals by:
  • Placing a cap on the maximum mortgage to receive a tax break at $500,000.
  • Converting the tax deduction to a non-refundable credit, which will provide a much needed tax benefit to middle and lower income families.
  • Capitalizing the National Housing Trust Fund with billions of dollars of savings that the mortgage interest tax reform will bring.
Visit www.housingtaxreform.org for more details on our proposal. To see how mortgage interest tax reform will affect you, use our online calculator.

The support of our grassroots network of advocates is essential to advancing this proposal in the weeks and months to come. Please join us, endorse today, and forward this message to your network.

Sheila Crowley 
Sheila Crowley
President and CEO

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christie Administration Announces Comprehensive Temporary Housing Assistance for Storm-Displaced Residents

This is a press release from the Governor's office (see http://www.state.nj.us/governor/news/news/552012/approved/20121210e.html)

Christie Administration Announces Comprehensive Temporary Housing Assistance for Storm-Displaced Residents
*       Monday, December 10, 2012

Additional Fort Monmouth Housing Units and Mobile Homes Will Help Address Disaster Housing Needs

Trenton, NJ - In response to a housing need unlike any New Jersey has before encountered, the Christie Administration today expanded a multi-faceted housing strategy with the support of FEMA to provide additional resources to the many households who are in need of temporary housing as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Additional housing units at the former Fort Monmouth Military Installation will immediately begin to be renovated and temporary housing units will be placed on existing concrete pads already serviced by utility hookups and facilities. Additionally, a request has been made to extend FEMA's Transitional Sheltering Assistance program and Bergen and Hudson counties will be added to the list of areas where a FEMA rapid housing repair program is offered.

"Among our top priorities is to ensure that everyone who has been displaced by Hurricane Sandy can find temporary housing that meets their needs in one available form or another, so they can begin to recover from this major disaster," said Governor Christie. "State departments and agencies, coordinated by my recovery and rebuilding team, have been working hard every day to assess and anticipate unmet housing needs and to develop a comprehensive strategy that, first and foremost, provides safe and adequate housing in the interim and, second, moves impacted households into permanent housing."

"As directed by Governor Christie, providing short and long term housing options for displaced New Jerseyans is the first critical task of the Governor's Office of Recovery and Rebuilding," said Marc Ferzan. "Working in concert with FEMA and the Department of Community Affairs, we are putting forward a plan to identify individual housing needs, provide clear options and help residents navigate the process. This is just part of an ongoing strategy to identify and respond to our state's housing needs and to reassure New Jersyeans and their families that federal, state and local government resources are collaborating to help those who need post-disaster assistance."

As of December 7, over 48,000 households have been determined eligible for financial assistance for housing exceeding $258 million in rental assistance and repair grants, according to FEMA disaster assistance registration data. Of those, over 9,500 sustained damage significant enough to warrant a call out from FEMA to determine the need for temporary housing. More than 8,000 of those households are located in Ocean, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, demonstrating a concentration of unmet housing needs within a relatively compact geographic area. The number of available rentals listed locally and in the FEMA Housing Portal are not sufficient to meet the anticipated need.

"A very high percentage of displaced households were staying with family and friends when they registered with FEMA. However, as some of these housing situations become unsustainable, residents who have been unable to secure available, affordable housing will need additional temporary housing alternatives," said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III, whose department heads the New Jersey State led Disaster Housing Task Force. "We are confident our program will provide a comprehensive housing strategy to meet our citizens' needs."

In order to meet the housing needs of displaced residents, the Christie Administration, in partnership with FEMA, will:

*       Renovate housing units at Fort Monmouth in addition to the 45 units currently being renovated. The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority is simultaneously preparing to issue multiple Requests for Offer to Purchase portions of Fort housing stock that could add approximately 375 units of permanent housing for Sandy displaced residents. The New Jersey Department of Education has advised that students housed at the Fort will have busing transportation available within a reasonable radius to their home school district;
*       Place manufactured housing units on existing pads in mobile home parks;
*       Request an extension of FEMA's Transitional Sheltering Assistance program to accommodate those residents who are currently staying in hotels and motels seeking housing. The program will be re-evaluated to determine the need beyond the January extension date; and
*       Add Hudson and Bergen counties to the list of jurisdictions where FEMA's Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) Pilot Program is offered. Through the program, homeowners can apply through their municipalities for eligible repair work on residences, including electrical meter repairs, shelter essential measures, and rapid temporary exterior repairs so that they can live in their homes while permanent repairs are made. The program is already offered in Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth, Ocean, and Middlesex counties.

The Christie Administration believes the expanded temporary housing assistance is warranted given the large number of uninhabitable homes in the state, the high percentage of households who are residing with family and friends, and the fact that more disaster assistance registrations are being received every day related to Hurricane Sandy losses. The Administration will continue to work with FEMA to monitor housing needs in the weeks and months to come.

FEMA: help for Nonprofits

Private Sector Division Joint Field Office Lincroft, New Jersey
December 11, 2012
DR-4086-NJ PSA-001
FEMA PS Desk: 732-345-3683
NJOEM PIO Contact: 609-963-6818

Deadlines extended to request reimbursement for infrastructure repair and other disaster costs
Nonprofits that suffered damage from Hurricane Sandy are encouraged to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance (PA) funding to help them get back
to the business of helping others.

The deadline to apply for FEMA Public Assistance has been extended to Dec. 30, 2012 in all
21 counties.

Michael Hall, FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer, granted the extension following a request from
the New Jersey State Office of Emergency Management. In the extension request, the state cited the unprecedented impact of Hurricane Sandy and the large number of organizations submitting Requests for Public Assistance, many of which have never before been involved in the PA process.

In order to qualify for PA funding, the agency must be a private nonprofit organization or institution that owns or operates a facility that serves the general public and provides essential governmental services. The basic categories of essential governmental services are: education, utility, emergency, medical, custodial care, irrigation and other services including museums, shelters and libraries. See PA Eligible Applicants for a listing of eligible private nonprofits.

Public Assistance is a program administered by the state of New Jersey and funded by FEMA.

FEMA reimburses no less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for emergency protective measures
and permanent restoration costs, including debris removal and infrastructure repair or replacement. FEMA specialists are available to help nonprofits through the application process.

The most important thing is to turn in an application.
Applications are available on the front page of the NJ Office of Emergency Management website: http://www.state.nj.us/njoem/.

The Request for Public Assistance Form should be sent to:
Lt. Col. Jerome Hatfield
Alternate governor’s authorized representative
New Jersey Office of Emergency Management
P.O. Box 7068
West Trenton, N.J. 08628-0068
Attention: Lt. Jeffrey Mottley
Telephone: 609-882-2000, ext. 2700 or 2500
Fax number: 609-882-1694

As of December 11, FEMA has conducted
653 applicant kick-off meetings, logged 1,154 Requests for Public Assistance and approved
54 large projects totaling $103,295,781.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema,
and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

Ocean County Library to host 2 storm recovery expos

What: 2 informational expos at Ocean County Library for those affected by Sandy
When: Dec. 17 @ Stafford library branch; Dec. 18 @ Toms River library branch

OCL to host storm recovery expos

TOMS RIVER –   Ocean County Library will partner with the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders and host “Beyond Sandy: the Storm Resource Expo,”  two expos that will present resources to area residents affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The expos will be held at the Stafford branch (129 N. Main Street, Manahawkin) Monday December 17 and the Toms River branch (101 Washington Street) Tuesday December 18. Both sessions will be held from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Attendees will have the opportunity to speak with representatives from local, county, state and federal agencies that can help connect them with the proper resources to recover from the storm’s aftermath.

Informational specialists will be available to answer questions and guide attendees on topics such as financial aid; finding a contractor; avoiding scams; where to find emotional support; help with remediation; obtaining permits; help with heating and dehumidifiers; and how to explain the impact of the storm to children.

The expos are free and open to the public. Registration is not required.

For more information about the event or if you are part of an organization that wants  to participate, telephone the Ocean County Library at (732) 349-6200 and contact Valerie Bell (extension 5404) or Nancy Bierbrauer (extension 5408.)

Ocean Long Term Recovery Committee established

A couple of hundred people and groups have met three times and created the Ocean County Long Term Recovery Committee.

Ocean County organized the initial meeting, held at the Holiday Inn in Toms River in November. People shared what they were doing and identified the needs they encountered.

The second meeting, held at the Elks Hall, Washington St. in Toms River introduced a model of a coordinated community effort to meet large-scale disasters and developed by the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. The model is based on responses to such events as hurricanes Katrina and Irene.

There are many resources available at the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster's (NVOAD) website: http://www.nvoad.org/ including a pdf file, "Long Term Recovery Guide."
At their third meeting the Ocean LTR Committee elected their Executive Committee Monday, Dec. 10:

Ted Gooding (Co-Chair), O.C.E.A.N., Inc
Eileen C Coyne (Co-Chair),Caregivers of NJ, Inc
Laura Pople (Secretary), Seer Farms
Linda Gyimoty (Treasurer), United Way of Ocean County

The committee will vote upon the following items at its next meeting:

Objective of the Ocean Long Term Recovery Committee:

Is to provide additional assistance in the post-recovery process for victims of disasters by bringing together various levels of assistance and resources to persons and families in need. 

The Mission of LTR Committees:

Is to address the Unmet Disaster Caused or Aggravated Needs within local communities, by using collaborative efforts between the public, private, interfaith and voluntary agencies.

That next meeting will be held on Monday, December 17th, 10 am to 12 pm at
Toms River Elks #1875 Lodge, 
600 Washington Street, Toms River, NJ 08753. Everyone is invited to attend.

This will perhaps be the most important meeting yet. 

The agenda includes creating the Long Term Recovery Group Sub-Committees.  Volunteers are needed to join those committees.  Training will be provided.  Those committees and their responsibilities include:

Case Management/Review
          Recruit, supervise, train, support caseworkers to assist clients with disaster caused recovery needs.  Prepare and present cases for consideration to entire committee for approval funding or resources

Volunteer Management
          Manage all staff local and incoming to assist.  Provide logistical support for incoming volunteer work teams

Construction Management
          Assess projects and provide materials list, skill needed, and supervision to complete repair and reconstruction

Info Tech/Computers
          Determine and recommend supplies, materials, technology and equipment needed

          Develop funding sources and monitor funds available to obtain materials needed to respond to disaster and to meet ongoing expenses

Public Affairs and Information
          Promote the work of the committee to the public and offer educational opportunities

          Recruit individuals and groups that have resources to contribute to the committee

          Manage donations made to the committee

Resource Directory
          Develop and maintain a directory of resources that can be used to assist in meeting both disaster cased and ongoing needs of clients

Needs Assessment
          Determine scope of disaster and resources needed to respond
Social Events
          Provide opportunities for clients, volunteers and the community to bond and encourage each though the recovery process

          Assist victims as a group identify and advocate with policy makers needed changes to make response more effective

Grievance Procedure
          Answer complaints or concerns that a client may have about service deliver of ineligibility to receive services

Remember, no one is useless. Everyone has a purpose, even if it's to serve as a bad example.  Don't be that bad example. You have talents and gifts! You want to help! Join in the recovery efforts.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

FREE WEBINAR:The Human Right to Housing:



The Human Right to Housing:
A Report Card on U.S. Policy 

Monday, December 10 

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EST
On Monday, December 10, in commemoration of Human Rights Day, the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty will be hosting a free webinar on U.S. compliance with the human right to housing. 

In June 2011, the Law Center released "Simply Unacceptable: Homelessness and the Human Right to Housing in the U.S.," which includes a report card grading the United States on its response to homelessness and its compliance with the human right to housing.

This year, the Law Center is issuing an update to its report card, including failing grades in more than one category. 

This webinar will discuss the report card, its findings, and its recommendations.  

According to international standards, the human right to housing consists of seven elements: security of tenure; availability of services, materials, and infrastructure; affordability; accessibility; habitability; location; and cultural adequacy.  This report card gives the U.S. letter grades on each of them.  It also offers common sense solutions the U.S. can adopt to better meet the housing needs of homeless and poor persons.

The webinar will be facilitated by the report card's primary author, Eric Tars, human rights program director at the Law Center, and will feature commentary and analysis from other Law Center attorneys.  

To register for the webinar, click here.   

Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

Hello again:
Recently we had sent out the attached recruitment bulletin to several One Stops in NJ.
In lieu of all that has happened and the united effort of the LTRC to meet the needs brought about by Hurricane Sandy, we wanted to distribute our recruitment flyer to all of those who attended the meeting. Is there a master distribution list or can it be forwarded to them through your office.
Thank you,
Roger Leahy
Roger J. Leahy
Program Manager
National Council on Aging
1255 Route 70 West, Suite 23S
Lakewood, New Jersey  08701
Phone: 732-367-7111  Fax:  732-367-8720

Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
Administered by the National Council on Aging, Inc.
Funded by the US Department of Labor
Enrollment Openings in Ocean, Monmouth, Morris and Atlantic Counties.
Enrollment Guidelines:
·        Over age 55
·        Unemployed
·        Under Federal Poverty Level
Entitles participants to:
·        14 hours per week hands on training
·        Pay of $7.25 per hour while in training
·        Assistance in resume writing, interviewing skills, job search and use of job clubs
·        Free Economic Security Initiative screening to assist you in obtaining additional assistance in improving present economic situation.
If you:
·        Are sincere in seeking either full or part-time employment
·        Improving your economic situation
·        Taking back control of your life
Contact us to set up a local interview:
National Council on Aging, Inc.
1255 Route 70 West, Suite 23S
Lakewood, New Jersey 08701
1 -732 – 367 - 7111

2 new FEMA DRCs open in Ocean County

FEMA is opened 2 new Disaster Recovery Centers in Ocean County today.  DRC #32 opened at the Little Egg Harbor Senior Center on 641 Radio Road in Little Egg Harbor Twp.  DRC #33 opened at Harvey Cedars Bible Conference Center, 12 Cedars Avenue, Harvey Cedars Long Beach Island, NJ.  Hours will be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Sunday until further notice.  Bell Crest Plaza DRC in Toms River and Brick Township Civic Center DRC will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. until further notice, while the DRC at Bay Head Fire Station #1 will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until further notice.  
Cheri Huber

Public Affairs Media Specialist


Friday, November 23, 2012

Tent City Residents Elects Representatives

WAYNE PARRY, Associated Press
Updated 10:36 a.m., Monday, November 5, 2012
LAKEWOOD, N.J. (AP) — The candidates made the rounds of their neighborhood, canvassing voters who live in canvas.
There were almost no doors to knock on, so the campaigning often consisted of a shouted greeting: "Steve, come on out here for a minute!"
The issues were debated: how to maintain law and order, who should get the next available heater, what to do with the noisiest voters, whether anyone could deliver some lights to the community, which lives in pitch-blackness each night in the woods.
And then the residents of Tent City, the controversial encampment of homeless people near the Jersey shore that has been the subject of a years-long court battle to evict its residents, voted. They filled out their little paper ballots, folded them in half and stuffed them into a ballot box.
On the first Sunday in October, the camp's 80 or so residents elected three representatives, and approved by-laws spelling out what can and can't be done there, along with enforcement provisions for violators. They also approved committees approximating the functions of executive and judicial branches of more traditional government.
"I believe we can lift people up," said Gregory "Pops" Maple, one of the elected representatives called co-managers. "I feel like I have the ability to improve the operations of this place. But I was kind of surprised I got elected. Some people have the gift of gab; not me."
Actually, Maple's best qualification for office may be that he's a good listener. The soft-spoken 62-year-old native of Brooklyn, N.Y. wound up in the camp about a year ago due to "financial difficulties." One of Tent City's elders, he is quick with a smile and thinks long and hard before saying anything. When he does, he can usually find the right words to de-escalate a situation without anyone's feelings getting hurt or having their pride wounded.
Tent City just marked its sixth anniversary in September. This is the seventh winter the camp will have experienced, but the first with any rules and regulations.
It made it through Superstorm Sandy with minimal damage: three tents were destroyed and quickly replaced. Half the residents fled during the storm, while the other half rode it out. All but one couple has since returned.
"We probably fared better than most other people did," said Rev. Steven Brigham of the Lakewood Outreach Ministry Church, who founded the camp and lives there with its homeless residents. "We're used to living in the cold and dark without electricity."
The rules are simple and sensible. First and foremost: respect each other's rights, and keep the peace. Drugs and illegal weapons are prohibited. No going into someone else's tent without their permission. If you wish to share the food and supplies that are donated to the camp, you have to help cook or clean up. Same goes for showers and laundry.
There's a quiet period from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. where loud radios, cellphones or the use of generators are banned. Trash has to go in one of the bins provided in the center of the camp. A "support committee" made up of community, business and religious leaders will act as the final word on disputes that can't be resolved within the camp. And of course, the by-laws explicitly recognize that the laws of Lakewood, N.J., and the United States of America also apply to Tent City.
Brigham said that in addition to improving the lives of the Tent City residents, the election was also designed to show the judge hearing the legal case involving the camp that things are not spiraling out of control.
"The by-laws show that this is not just a bunch of radicals living in the woods. We are a community that wants to live in peace, with law and order," he said.
Already, the co-managers have had to deal with some issues. Sister Hannah, another of the three elected representatives, said "the noise factor" has arisen a few times.
"A couple keeps making a lot of noise," said Hannah, who would not give her last name, saying publication of it might put her at risk from a situation from her past. "We have to decide what we're going to do about that."
Maple suggests moving them to a far edge of the camp, away from most of the others. Expulsion from Tent City, while provided for under the by-laws, is to be used only as a last resort. These are, after all, folks who have virtually nothing, and already have no place to go.
Not everyone is jumping for joy over the new rules and the elected representatives to whom they now may be called to answer. Vera Tims, who has been in the camp since it opened six years ago, said the new system hasn't made much of a difference yet.
"When we have a problem, they're supposed to deal with it, but they don't," she said. "It's just a name."
Tims said Tent City's biggest need is lighting.
"It's dark as hell back here at night," she said. "We could use some street lights."
"There are 22 women here," added her boyfriend, Steve Hamburger. "It's for their safety."
With winter fast approaching, many residents want portable heaters to use inside their tents. A group of residents call out to Brigham as he walks past, complaining that they still haven't gotten a heater. He assures them he's doing the best he can, which only makes them grumble more as he walks down the muddy pathway.
"It's challenging," Brigham said. "To make sure 80 people living in the woods with nothing that regular society uses to keep warm can get through the winter, well, it's just challenging."

Housing needs for people with disabilities

Student with Autism Creates Short Film Showing #Housing Needs for People with Disabilities bit.ly/TKMKwE

Seaside Park Police Department collecting donations

Detective Chris Bonner of the Seaside Park Police Department (SPPD) tells us that his department has been working tirelessly to protect and assist the community since before Sandy hit. Even though officers are displaced from their homes, they have been working around the clock in service to the community, despite lacking supplies, Detective Bonner says. Detective Bonner has provided the following information:

Officers will be collecting these donations at the checkpoint located on Route 35 south (at the entrance into Seaside Park): Any questions please contact Detective Chris Bonner 848-992-2055

New cold weather gear
New jackets
New gloves
Rain gear
Waterproof items
Duty boots
New socks
BDU Pants
Utility pants
New Towels
Bottled Water/Soda
Non perishable food products
Paper products
Gift cards and monetary donations are also accepted and kindly appreciated

We have established a Facebook page, Seaside Park PBA (
https://www.facebook.com/pba.sppd?fref=ts), to use as a means of accepting donations. The following is the link to our paypal donation site, we are trying to figure out a way to embed or post it onto our site.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mt. Laurel case update from Supportive Housing Associaiton of NJ

NJ Supreme Court - Mt. Laurel Case Oral Arguments Heard Today in Trenton
SHA was present today as the NJ Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the Mt. Laurel Doctrine. We are hopeful that the Court will uphold the law so that people of low income, many of whom live with disabilities, are not discriminated against and have access to affordable homes throughout the state.
See the Op-Ed published in today's Star Ledger:
By Tracy A. Siebold, counsel in the real estate department of Ballard Spahr LLP; Alison Recca-Ryan, Director of the New Jersey Program, CSH; and Gail Levinson, Executive Director, SHA.

You may also be interested in reading The Record's report on today's arguments by Anthony Campisi.

Many thanks to Fair Share Housing Center and other affordable housing advocates for their skilled defense of the doctrine!
Hurricane Sandy Resources
SHA has added two resource pages to our website in order to serve our member organizations, families and individuals affected by the storm. Please share these resources with others in your organization, particularly if you are in hard-hit areas in Central and South Jersey:

A Sandy Emergency Housing Needs And Vacancies page where we will post both emergency housing needs and vacancies in order to match people in need with available housing.You can email listings to gail.levinson@shanj.org. Please include a short description, county/community, contact name, phone and email.

We have also added a list of links that may be helpful to people affected by Hurricane Sandy. If you have links you think we should add, including any of your agencies that are providing assistance, please send them to gail.levinson@shanj.org.

Thank you!
NJ Supportive Housing Conference is just 3 weeks away!
Friday, December 7, 8am-4pm
at The Pines Manor, Edison, NJ
Please visit our website for full conference information.
There are still opportunities to articipate as a sponsor and exhibitor!
Click here for a host of options.

NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency

Friends and Colleagues,

I hope this email finds you all safe and secure.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, thousands of New Jersey residents have been displaced from their homes and are in need of housing. The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, an affiliated agency of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs has partnered with the non-profit organization Socialserve.com to provide web-based (www.njhrc.gov) and bi-lingual call center-based (1-877-428-8844) housing location services for Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.

Long-term and short-term housing assistance is now available through the New Jersey Housing Resource Center (NJHRC) located at www.njhrc.gov.

The NJHRC is a free service to assist people in search of housing and to landlords who are looking to provide housing. People without Internet access can call the bilingual toll-free number 1-877-428-8844 for help using this service.

Please pass this information along to your residents, family or friends that have been displaced from their home and are in search of temporary or permanent housing.

Click here to download a flyer for you to distribute or post as you see fit with all the pertinent information on how to access the NJHRC website or call center.
Wishing you all the best,
Anthony L. Marchetta
Executive Director
New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency
Other links: http://www.njhrc.gov/