Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Police give money to minister for poor

TOMS RIVER: Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 10 has donated $200 to Steve Brigham of Lakewood Outreach Ministry Church, founder and minister of the homeless encampment known as Tent City.
Bob Hayes, the lodge president, and David Downey, a member, met with Brigham on Saturday and gave him the money to help the homeless people at the camp.
Each month the lodge donates to charities, including Ocean of Love, a childhood-cancer support group based in Toms River; Deborah Heart and Lung Center; the Special Olympics; and other local and national groups, Downey said.
The group meets 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at 1791 N. Bay Avenue. For more information call 732-255-7300

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Human Services Advisor Council meeting 3/22

The next Human Services Advisory Council meeting will be held on March 22, 2012
Please email your attendance
The Ocean County Department of Human Services Office for Individuals with Disabilities Housing and Resource Guide 2011-2012 edition is available

NJ Governor proposes changes in Dept. of Human Services

NJ: Department of Human Services
Feb. 21, 2012

Dear DHS staff:
Today Governor Chris Christie presents his Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Address – part of which includes a proposed reorganization of certain state government agencies. The Department of Human Services plays a critical role in this reform effort, which presents a wonderful opportunity to enhance and realign this Department’s mission and delivery of social services to New Jersey’s residents.
A significant part of the proposed plan involves a consolidation of services for seniors. Many of you may recall that in 1996, certain services from four government agencies had been reorganized to form the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). The Governor’s proposed reorganization recognizes that seniors and people with disabilities have similar needs for long term supports and services and will benefit from a continuum of coordinated and integrated long term care. As a result, programs and services that now serve seniors will move from DHSS to DHS and form a new Division of Aging Services, which will work closely and coordinate with our entire department – most particularly with our Division of Disability Services.
Another significant part of the Governor’s plan is to integrate all programs, services and supports that serve children into the Department of Children and Families. Over the upcoming fiscal year, all children – including those now served by the Divisions of Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health and Addiction Services – will transition from the Department of Human Services to the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
Finally, Graduate Medical Education and the Hospital Relief Subsidy Fund, currently managed by the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services in our Department, will transition to the newly-renamed Department of Health, which is also responsible for the distribution of Charity Care funding.
The Legislature will consider the Governor's proposal and vote on it by June 30, 2012. I believe this is an exciting time for our Department, and I will continue to provide updates to you, as appropriate, on the progress of these important transitions.

Jennifer Velez, Commissioner

Center for Housing Policy

Shrinking incomes outpace falling homeownership costs; renters face rising costs on tightening household budgets
A new study by the Center for Housing Policy confirms that falling home prices have not solved the housing affordability problems of the nation's working households. In fact, the Center's Housing Landscape 2012 report found that the share of working households paying more than half their income for housing rose significantly between 2008 and 2010 for both renters and owners. This annual report explores the latest Census data from 2008 to 2010 on housing costs and income, including housing cost burden data from the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Among other conclusions, Housing Landscape 2012 finds that nearly one in four working households in the U.S. spends more than half of total income on housing.

Housing cost burden for working households grew over the two-year period studied largely due to falling incomes and rising rental housing costs. Report author Laura Williams says rents rose due to increased demand for rental housing which has outstripped supply, partly due to the crisis on the homeownership side of the market.
"More and more people are interested in renting," Williams remarked. "Some prefer it because it allows them to be more mobile in a tough job market. Others are postponing purchasing a home or facing difficulties obtaining a mortgage. Given the long lead times involved in responding to increased demand with increased supply, the rental market has tightened somewhat and rents increased."

For working homeowners over the same two-year period, incomes slid more than twice as much as housing costs. In fact, incomes for working homeowners fell even more sharply than they did for working renters. Jeffrey Lubell, executive director of the Washington-based Center for Housing Policy, said this phenomenon was primarily due to a drop in average hours worked among moderate-income homeowners.

"The data show that homeowners have been hit hard by the housing crisis in more ways than just lost equity," Lubell explained. "Many working homeowners have been laid off or had their hours cut."

Additionally, the housing costs of most working homeowners are still tied to homes bought before the sharp drop in home prices and thus do not reflect today's lower home purchase prices.

"Most of today's homeowners bought their homes at a time when housing prices were much higher than they are today," Lubell continued. "As a result, their housing costs have not declined nearly as much as you would expect from looking at the broader market declines in home sale prices."

Read the Housing Landscape 2012 report

Key National Findings
Nearly one in four working households spends more than half of its income on housing. The share of working households with a severe housing cost burden increased significantly between 2008 and 2010, rising from 21.8 percent to 23.6 percent.
Despite falling home prices and values, housing affordability worsened for working homeowners. Median housing costs for working homeowners declined modestly between 2008 and 2010. Meanwhile, the incomes of working homeowners declined even more, driven in large part by a decrease in the median number of hours worked per week between 2008 and 2010.
Working renters fared even worse, with both increased rents and decreased incomes between 2008 and 2010. While incomes increased somewhat between 2009 and 2010, over the two-year period renters saw a four percent decline in household income. The housing costs of renters rose over the two-year period by four percent.
State and Local Findings
Between 2008 and 2010, the share of working households with a severe housing cost burden increased significantly in 24 states and decreased significantly in only one state: Maine. Eight other states that saw no significant increase in the percentage of such households already had steadily high rates of severe housing cost burden.

Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the following five had the highest share of working households with a severe housing cost burden in 2010:

California 34%
Florida 33%
New Jersey 32%
Hawaii 30%
Nevada 29%

Among the 50 largest metropolitan areas, the following five metropolitan areas had the highest share of working households with a severe housing cost burden in 2010:

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 43%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 38%
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA 37%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 35%
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA 35%

A closer look at the data reveals that the share of working households with a severe housing cost burden increased significantly over the two years studied in 19 of the 50 largest metropolitan areas, yet decreased significantly only in the Riverside, Calif., area. Of these 19 metro areas, 13 are located in the South and two more are in California. Overall, the level of severe housing cost burden among working households displayed a high level of variation at the metropolitan level. Levels ranged from a high of 43 percent in the Miami area to a low of 15 percent in Pittsburgh.


This report is based on Center for Housing Policy tabulations of American Community Survey (ACS) data collected by the U .S. Census Bureau in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Estimates in this report were generated by the Center using Public-Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) population and housing files made publicly available by the Census Bureau. Each file includes roughly 40 percent of the full ACS sample for its respective year, resulting in over 3 million records in each population file and over 1.2 million records in each housing file.The Center for Housing Policy analyzed these data to develop national, state, and metropolitan area estimates of working households with severe housing cost burdens.

Notes: For purposes of this report, "working households" are defined as those with a household income of no more than 120 percent of the area median income in which the household members worked an average of at least 20 hours per week for the preceding 12 months. "Severe housing cost burden" is defined as monthly housing costs (including utilities) exceeding 50 percent of household income.


The Center for Housing Policy gratefully acknowledges the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for this work. Any opinions or conclusions expressed, however, are those of the authors alone.

Learn more about the National Housing Conference and its research affiliate the Center for Housing Policy.

For the latest information on housing policy, please visit: Online Discussion Forum Open House Blog

Friday, February 24, 2012

Scientific American: Homeless Project Residents Drink Less If Booze Ban Is Lifted

The magazine Scientific American provides more evidence that providing safety for the first saves money.

BBC looks at US poverty

The following link takes you to a 30-minute You Tube video where the BBC looks at homelessness and poverty in the richest country in the world.!

NJAR®-Approved Foreclosure Bill Going through Legislative Process

On February 16, 2012, the Senate Economic Growth Committee approved S-1566, the New Jersey Residential Foreclosure Transformation Act. This legislation, supported by NJAR®, establishes the New Jersey Foreclosure Relief Corporation, which will be able to work with municipalities to help them acquire foreclosed properties, which will in turn be used to provide affordable housing. NJAR®successfully requested an amendment to this bill to ensure that one of the members of this corporation will be a real estate licensee. This legislation is now before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, and it must be approved before it can be sent to the full State Senate for a vote. The legislation must also be approved in the General Assembly.   

Monarch Housing releases homeless reports

If the links do not work go to Monarch's Website:

Monarch Releases Regional Homeless Reports
by Kate M. Kelly on February 20, 2012
Key Findings Provide Local Communities
With Tool for Data Driven Planning
Using data from New Jersey’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and dividing the state into three regions, Monarch Housing Associates has created three Regional – Northern, Central, and Southern – Homeless Assessment Reports.
Key findings include the following homelessness household population totals:
Other findings include data about subpopulations, information about the causes of homelessness, and additional demographics that paint the picture of the homeless population.
With the implementation of the HEARTH Act, resources for homeless programs will be tied to a community’s ability to effectively reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness and implement programs and processes that can successfully end homelessness.
The use of local data on the homeless population and the programs within a community will play a critical role in planning and program development in order to end homelessness and will be essential for basic compliance with HEARTH Act regulations. These reports provide a snapshot of the characteristics of homeless households in the three regions.
While these reports provide very basic information about the homeless population in each region, they may serve as the foundation of a more in depth review of the population and its needs. Communities in New Jersey are well positioned to move towards data driven planning with the wealth of information available through HMIS. We hope this report will serve as an example of how to take the first step in using data to transform the system.
To view the reports use these links:
If you need more information about the reports, click here to send us an email.

Family Promise of Southern OC, part 2

We still are in need of securing hosts sites for the weeks of 3/4 and 3/11. We do not want to put our guests in a motel. If any host and or support congregation can assist us with this please let us know and if a host is able to support this we may need to have volunteers to provide meals and overnight accommodations. If you are interested in any way please contact us ASAP.

A big thanks to Lacey United Methodist Church for hosting our guests this week, all the volunteers including folks from Forked River Presbyterian Church and for Jackie the new coordinator for doing a great job!

Thank you to the Greenbriar Oceanaire Womens's Club for donating Walmart Gift Cards for our families that will be used for clothing and personal items.

Family Promise of SOC
338 South Main Street
Barnegat, NJ 08005

Family Promise of Southern Ocean County

As some of you may recall, Family Promise SOC received an approval of a grant to help 2 families with housing vouchers from HUD through the county. It has been a long wait but we finally are going to be able to assist the first family with the housing voucher. The family will receive assistance from Lakewood Housing Authority with the voucher and Family Promise will provide case management services to the family. I had the great pleasure of sharing this news on the phone to Melissa (our past guest) and after I told her that she has been approved to receive the voucher all of a suddenly there was silence... and then in a quiet voice I could hear Melissa crying with tears of joy! Melissa and her 4 children will finally have "a place to call home". If anyone knows of any homes for rent in the Toms River area please let me know, as they must find a place within 60 days.

Church Withdraws Plans to Open a Homeless Shelter on Property

Toms River Patch reported the First Assembly of God Church, Toms River, has withdrawn it application to open a transition housing unit that would provide shelter to between 40 and 50 men and women.

During an open meeting with people in the neighborhood it became clear from the article they did not support placing the shelter, called a Lodge, anywhere around them. 

Here is the link to the article:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Update on OC Homeless litigation

We continue to make progress in the litigation and, at the same time, remain keenly aware of the news -- some tragic, some inspiring -- that underscored the importance of the Coalition and its mission of ending homelessness.

On one hand, we were saddened to hear this week about Amador:  a homeless man in Lakewood who died in a fire in the tent where he was sleeping, trying to keep warm in the winter cold.  Contrary to some media reports, this tragedy did not occur in the Lakewood Tent City (Amador's tent was in another part of Lakewood, off Route 88), but this needless death is a poignant example of why everyone should have access to safe, indoor housing.

On the other hand, the nation was inspired by Samantha Garvey:  the Long Island teen who was living in a shelter when she made semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search and suddenly found herself invited to the State of the Union.  Samantha is another, living reminder that even the most talented and hard-working among us can find themselves homeless due to circumstances beyond their control.

With all of the homeless in mind, we move forward with (among other things) the Ocean County Homeless Litigation.  This week, the litigants selected a highly experienced mediator, Edward J. McKenna, Jr., with whom the parties will meet to try and reach a settlement to address the lack of any available shelter in Ocean County.  Until then, the litigation moves forward simultaneously. This week, we served the County with extensive discovery requests (document demands and interrogatories), so that we can continue to move forward towards trial if no settlement is reached.  Hopefully, Ocean County and Lakewood will choose cooperation over litigation.

Of course, the problem of homelessness goes far beyond Ocean County.  This week, as part of the "Point-In-Time" count conducted each January, homeless were counted in every single one of New Jersey's 21 counties.  Only a small fraction of New Jersey's homeless can be counted in a single night, and the actual number of homeless men, women and children is a large multiple of any "Point-In-Time" count.  However, as long as we have our Coalition, none of them is alone.

Family Promise of Southern Ocean County makes a difference

First Presbyterian Church Tuckerton for hosting this week
Maris Stella for hosting last week
First UMC and The Church of the Holy Spirit for their assistance two weeks ago

  • To our new coordinator Jackie Dunbar from Lacey United Methodist Church- they will be hosting on 2/19
  • To Great Bay Gospel Fellowship for joining our network and for brining a team of volunteers to be trained last week. they will be hosting for the first time 2/26.
  • To Jersey Shore Council, BSA, Joseph A. Citta Scout Reservation at Brookville on becoming a host site for us. we are looking for a coordinator for that site. we also are looking for scouts to assist during that week and would like to set up trainings for the group. please contact Cheryl Polo for more information.

This brings us up to 12 Current Host Sites!!! Not all sites are on our calendar as of yet but will be getting many of the dates added to the calendar.

  • Gift cards for local stores for work  and personal supplies for guests
  • financial counselor to offer assistance to guests
  • job leads for Gabe in auto field and Mandy in local store or office
  • If anyone has any connections to offer discount or reduced assistance for child care

A note from Family Promise national organization

Dear Affiliate Leader,

Thank you all for the work you do to help children and their families leave homelessness and realize the promise they truly have.  I wanted to share with you my thoughts at the beginning of the 24th year of Family Promise as a national organization.

2011 was a year of remarkable achievement for Family Promise.  We added 14 new affiliates—Indiana, PA accepted their first family just before Christmas—bringing our total to 174 nationwide.  We held a wonderful Conference in Salt Lake City and have already begun planning our 12th National Conference, to be held May 3-5, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  And we rolled out nearly a dozen new initiatives that help affiliates continue to grow (see attached list).

In the year ahead, we will pursue more national partnerships like The Company Store, which has pledged 15,000 comforters to affiliates.  And we will continue to develop new tools like FPForce, Family Promise’s customized relational database designed to meet the unique needs of affiliates.  Twenty-nine affiliates have already adopted FPForce with another ten poised to come on line.  The Program Directory—cataloging the hundreds of amazing and innovative programs affiliates have created—will be coming out soon.  And we will launch DonorDrive, a state-of-the-art online fundraising program to help you increase your event giving significantly.

I’m also pleased to report that nearly 70% of our affiliates nationwide are now operating as Family Promise or are in the process of changing their name to Family Promise.  Continuing to strengthen the Family Promise brand will allow us to compete nationally for finite corporate and foundational resources in these demanding times.

On the local level, if you are not already taking an active part in your Continuum of Care (CoC), I strongly urge you to do so.  Federal funding priorities have shifted towards rapid re-housing and the CoCs have become increasingly central to planning efforts of communities seeking to access HUD funding.  As CoCs will be administering federal, state and local funding for homeless services, it is imperative for affiliates to play a vital role in their Continuums.  

The past year was tough for just about everyone—the families we serve, our volunteers, our affiliates and the National office.  However, we continue to draw strength from one basic truth.  The existence of Family Promise makes a profound difference, not only in the lives of tens of thousands of children and parents who are served by you, our affiliates, but also to the 150,000 volunteers and 5,500 congregations who find our mission a transformative outreach.

It is my honor and pleasure to work with all of you.  Please continue to share your ideas, questions and challenges.  Continue to strengthen lives and build community.

All the very best,


Family Promise of Southern Ocean County intake rules

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


GAO on homelessness

What GAO Found
Definitional differences of homelessness have posed challenges to providing services for children and youth. Children and youth living in precarious situations, such as living with others or in hotels, historically were excluded from receiving government-funded services. Congress enacted the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009 (HEARTH Act), which broadened the general definition of homelessness and provided greater statutory specificity concerning those who should be considered homeless. In November 2011, HUD issued a final rule on the definition of homelessness, adding a new category of homelessness––unaccompanied youth, and families with children and youth who are defined as homeless under other federal statutes. The HEARTH Act and HUD’s recent definition changes may alleviate some challenges previously faced by children and youth in accessing services, but not enough time has passed to assess the impact of those changes. Some children and youth who previously were not considered homeless by HUD will now qualify as homeless. However, the broadening of the definition does not mean that everyone who meets the new definition would be entitled to benefits in all homeless assistance programs, and constraints on resources will likely continue to restrict access for some children and youths.
As of December 2011, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (Interagency Council) and federal agencies had taken steps to develop a common vocabulary for discussing homelessness and related terms, as GAO recommended in its June 2010 report. In January 2011, the Interagency Council convened a meeting of experts to discuss the development of a common vocabulary and the extent to which differences in definitions create barriers to accessing services. The Interagency Council issued a report to Congress in June 2011 that summarized the feedback received during the meeting. The report notes that a common vocabulary would allow federal agencies to better measure the scope and dimensions of homelessness, and may ease program implementation and coordination. As of December 2011, Interagency Council staff told GAO that they held three meetings––in August, September, and October 2011––to discuss implementation of a common vocabulary and data standard with key federal agencies such as HUD; the Departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and Veterans Affairs (VA); and the Social Security Administration. The Interagency Council also noted that individual federal agencies have taken some positive steps to create this common data standard and improve coordination across agencies. For example, HHS and VA have been working with HUD to plan the potential transition of some of their programs to HUD’s data system (Homelessness Management Information Systems). As GAO has reported in the past, a common vocabulary would allow agencies to collect consistent data that agencies could compile to better understand the nature of homelessness, and it would allow agencies to communicate and collaborate more effectively.
Why GAO Did This Study
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) estimates of shelter use, the number of homeless families increased by 20 percent from 2007 to 2010 and families currently represent a much larger percentage of the shelter population than ever before. Multiple federal agencies administer programs designed to address the needs of children and youths experiencing homelessness, but some programs use different definitions of homelessness to determine eligibility. The definitions range from people living in emergency or transitional shelters or on the street to those living with others because of economic hardship or living in motels or campgrounds because they lack other adequate alternative accommodations.
This testimony discusses differences in the federal definitions of “homelessness” and other factors that may influence the effectiveness of programs serving persons experiencing homelessness, including children and youth. In completing this statement, GAO reviewed and updated, as appropriate, its June 2010 report, Homelessness: A Common Vocabulary Could Help Agencies Collaborate and Collect More Consistent Data (GAO-10-702). In that report, GAO recommended that federal agencies develop a common vocabulary for homelessness and determine whether it would be cost-effective to use this common vocabulary to develop and implement guidance for collecting consistent federal data on housing status. The agencies agreed with our recommendations. This statement also discusses the progress federal agencies have made in implementing these recommendations.

Tom Cornell to speak on the Spirituality of the Catholic Worker Movement

While the ‘Occupy’ movement has received much press in recent months, it is but the most recent example of public protest in support of a just cause, according to author, teacher, and peace activist Tom Cornell.

Tom Cornell, life-long Catholic Worker and veteran of peace and civil rights movements, will speak on the Spirituality of the Catholic Worker Movement during a special program at the Little Theatre in the Arts & Sciences Building of Georgian Court University, 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood Tuesday February 28 at 7 p.m. 

Started at the height of the Great Depression on the streets of New York City, the Catholic Worker movement began by offering bread and coffee to the poor but shortly evolved into a diverse movement of solidarity with the poor, and peace and justice activism.

Co-founder Dorothy Day, reflecting on the lowly beginnings of the Catholic Worker, wrote “It all happened while we were sitting there talking, and it is still going on.”

Tom’s involvement with the movement began in the late 1950s. His experiences included peace assignments to fourteen countries on three continents, editor of The Catholic Worker (the newspaper of the NYC Catholic Worker) and co-director of a Catholic Worker House of Hospitality for the homeless in Waterbury CT.

This program is hosted by the Sociology Department of Georgian Court University and sponsored by the Jersey Shore Catholic Worker.

Article by Pam Quatse