Monday, October 29, 2012

Homeless in Washington looks like homeless everywhere

Families served by the Washington Families Fund in the Puget Sound region describe their experiences of homelessness, and what it means to move into stable housing and have a place to call home.

The location may be different (Washington state) but the sentiments are the same: there's no place like home.

The video: click here.

Emergency preparedness resources for the homeless

Great collection of resources from @NatlHCHCouncil on emergency preparedness for folks experiencing homelessness: click here

Sunday, October 28, 2012

NJ Coalition to End Homelessness

Releases Request For Proposals for Atlantic, Essex, Hudson and Ocean Counties

The New Jersey Coalition to End Homelessness (the Coalition) is a statewide non-profit with one mission: to eradicate homelessness in New Jersey.  We believe in a New Jersey where no one is forced to sleep outside and where every man, woman and child lives in safe, affordable housing. The Coalition will work with its partners throughout the State until that vision becomes a reality.

Both data and outcomes have proven that the “Housing First” model is the most successful approach to ending homelessness.  Housing  First is currently endorsed by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) as a "best practice" for governments and service-agencies to use in their fight to end chronic homelessness in America[1] - cite_note-5 and has also been recognized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as an Evidence-based practice.[2]  Therefore, the Coalition will provide funding opportunities to organizations that are implementing this approach in three specific categories: Rapid Rehousing to provide  security and /or utility deposits to assist  in the rehousing of homeless individuals and/or families;  Homeless Emergency Fund to provide short term emergency stays for those needing temporary shelter while permanent affordable housing is secured , and;  Homeless Prevention, to pay rental arrears up to 3 months for residents who are at imminent risk of becoming homeless and have demonstrated means to resume payment of housing costs within 3 months.; to provide  to organizations that are implementing this approach.

For additional information and deadlines visit

Freeholders: Declaration of Emergency for Ocean County


FREEHOLDER DIRECTOR Gerry P. Little and Sheriff William L. Polhemus issued a Declaration of Emergency for Ocean County early this afternoon as Hurricane Sandy prepares to batter the entire region.

"This is a very dangerous storm and we are asking anyone asked to evacuate to do so as quickly as possible," Polhemus said.

The county Declaration of Emergency is in addition to the state declaration already signed by Gov. Chris Christie and allows the county and its 33 municipalities to "take any and all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of residents and visitors."

Little said he was on the phone with Gov. Christie and his cabinet members for about 30 minutes late Sunday morning.

"If you have been ordered to evacuate, please try to find safe refuge with friends or family," Little said. "If that is not possible, regional and municipal shelters are now open."

Regional shelters opened at Pinelands Middle School in Little Egg Harbor, Southern Regional High School in Manahawkin and the Pine Belt Arena at Toms River High School North in Toms River Township.

Barnegat and Waretown are operating a joint shelter at the Brackman Middle School in Barnegat Township. Jackson Township has opened a municipal shelter at Jackson Liberty High School.

"I can not stress how important it is to heed the evacuation orders," said Chief Michael G. Osborn of the Ocean County Sheriff's Department. "If you chose to wait and find yourself in trouble during the height of the storm, emergency responders may be unable to reach you."

The Ocean County Emergency Operations Center at the Robert J. Miller Airpark in Berkeley Township activated at 8 am today, although Emergency Management officials have been on duty preparing for the storm since late last week, Osborn said.

As of Sunday afternoon, forecasters were still calling for Sandy to make landfall near or along the New Jersey Coast sometime late on Monday.

"We are expecting severe - maybe record - tidal flooding along the bay, especially during the lunar high tide Monday evening," Osborn said. "The full moon will make a bad situation even worse."

Severe beach erosion, stream and river flooding and downed trees with widespread power outages are also expected.

Little said all county agencies are mobilized for the storm.

"Our Road Department will have crews out ready to clear debris and close any roads deemed hazardous because of flooding or falling trees and power lines," Little said. "Our Department of Human Services and Health Department will also be ready to assist residents whenever possible."

Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety, advised residents to keep up to date with the storm at the County's website at

Congratulations to us

Congratulations to us. Our blog has been voted the best blog in Ocean County in Ocean Happening's inaugural "Best of Ocean County" contest. Thank you for your support.

What does it mean? Alot of people are concerned about the homeless in Ocean County and are looking for reliable news about them and ways they can assist.

Much has been done but much more still needs to be done.  Keep me informed.

And thanks again, Larry

Hurricane Sandy shelters

The Ocean County shore communities are calling for evacuations of residents in anticipation of the impending storm.

Here is the list of locations offering temporary shelter during Hurricane Sandy. We will update the list as we hear more.

Southern Regional High School is open now, but is not pet-friendly.
Toms River High School North will open at 4 p.m. today, Sunday, and is pet-friendly. The shelter can accommodate 400 people and blankets, water, and food will be supplied. Residents are asked to bring two days worth of clothing and medications.
The shelter will be pet friendly, but evacuees are asked to make sure pets are leashed and that cages accompany animals.
School buses will provide transportation for barrier island residents to the Pine Belt Arena.

News Channel 12 reports that Toms River High School East has opened a shelter with room for 200 people (10:30 am)
WOBM-FM news reporter earlier (Tuesday) the 2 shelters above were full and a third was opening at Intermediate School South.
Pinelands Middle School will open at 8 p.m. today, Sunday, and is pet friendly.
Barnegat and Waretown are operating a joint shelter at the Brackman Middle School in Barnegat Township.

Point Pleasant Boro: Point Pleasant Borough High School
(10/29 @ 11 am) Mandatory Noon Evacuation for Parts of Point Boro - Point Pleasant, NJ Patch
Tuckerton: Pinelands Regional Middle School

Lacey: United Methodist Church

Jackson announces location of shelter
The Jackson Township Office of Emergency Management will be putting forward a number of updates periodically over the next 48 hours to inform the residents of Jackson Township of any important information. Governor Chris Christie is recommending all residents stay home as long as it is safe, said Sgt. Christopher Parise, of the township’s Office of Emergency Management.
For residents needing assistance, the Jackson Liberty High School will be open accepting residents needing shelter. The shelter will be open starting 6 p.m. today, Sunday. It is located at 125 North Hope Chapel Road. Residents coming to the shelter are asked to bring their own blankets, pillows, toiletries and medication, Parise said.
Per Mayor Reina, a roadway travel restriction will be in effect starting midnight tonight. During this travel restriction, all non essential personnel are required to stay off all Jackson Township roadways. The travel restriction will remain in effect until further notice, Parise said.
Please call 732-928-9414 if you have any questions regarding the emergency shelter or if you wish to reach the Jackson Township Emergency Operations Center, Parise said.
In Lakewood:
All Saints Episcopal - 2nd Street and Rte 9
Intercessory Tabernacle - Arlington Avenue
Missionary Pentecostal Church - Fourth Street 
Temple Beth Am Shalom - Route 70

Reception centers are being established to take residents to larger shelters across the county. (scheduled to open at 3 p.m. on Sunday)
Adelphia Fire Department Substation, 993 Highway 33
Southard Fire Station, Route 9 and New Friendship Road
Ramtown Fire Station, 88 Ramtown Greenville Road

The Ocean County Library will be closed Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday. Only Lakewood and Barnegat open Thur 10 am to 4.  Check their Web site for updates
There will be no TR Connection bus service Monday

Power outage:
Jersey Central Power & Light call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) or call Customer Service at 800-662-3115 or visit online at and click on "Report an outage."

For Atlantic City Electric customers call 1-800-642-3780 or go online at and click on link to report streetlight outage.

Ocean County press releases also have valuable information that you might want to follow: 

Food insecurity-kids going hungry

1 in 6 Americans is unsure where their next meal is coming from and how they will feed their children tomorrow

NJ foreclosure help doesn't help-Senate tries to undo mess

 Review finds NJ anti-foreclosure aid program flawed

Senate Approves Lesniak Foreclosure Bills

A pair of bills sponsored by Senator Raymond J. Lesniak which would address New Jersey’s foreclosure crisis by transforming abandoned, foreclosed properties into livable homes and by requiring New Jersey to expand participation in the HomeKeeper mortgage assistance program was approved by the full Senate yesterday. For more information go to:

Donate to food pantries? An app coming!

Want to donate fresh food to your local pantry? There's an app coming for that. 

Bergen food pantry shortages

A Bergen_NJ food pantry may need to reduce aid because donations are down. Click here 

Hurricane Sandy shelters and needs

Here is an update as of Saturday, 6:00pm.

Three churches and one synagogue have offered to shelter residents
from the storm. I was on the phone with Mike McNeil and he has also informed
that there are rooms through social services.

The facilities are:
All Saints Episcopal - 2nd Street and Rte 9
Intercessory Tabernacle - Arlington Avenue
Missionary Pentecostal Church - Fourth Street 
Temple Beth Am Shalom - Route 70
(Pastor David Orellana and Pastor Cruz always offer but we thought
this was plenty)

A call was made to Kenny this morning and he said the storm should be at its
worse Monday early evening. The various facilities would start opening at noon on Monday unless you or Kenny call us and want an earlier start time. 

Minister Steve will be coordinating people to go to certain facilities. He told me he will do his best to suggest certain places for people. Last year the elderly women came to All Saints - and the entire Mexican crew went over to Salguero's etc. He said he will not have any official breakdown until tomorrow.

As you maybe aware Tent City has team Captains elected by the people of the camp. Hannah is one and she has been on the phone along with others encouraging them to consider spending the night indoors. 

While the focus in tent city, the homeless near the tracks it is also for anyone in need. Last year we had a walk-in of a couple whose pipes burst.

We should try and get each facility at least a dozen blankets and let us know if there any cots being dropped off.

I asked Kenny this morning for a few flashlights.
Any other lighting would be helpful if power goes out. 

We need to transport people to the various facilities.
Minister Steve will do this - and I think Mike will help.
I asked churches to prepare to let us use their vans and those of us CERT
certified can take someone out of arms way if needed. 
(in the future as discussed, we could use a vehicle-bus won't do-sometimes we get a call from someone and we don't need a bus - this is the nature of the beast)

I have asked Mike to see if he can secure a key to the Center or see if
Alba will be available for Tuesday.

We have also asked the Pastors to ask someone in the congregations if they have a generator until we get one for each facility in each place as discussed at the emergency meetings. 

Finally, it was an excellent suggestion that the churches pick a team of people to go out and check on their neighbors the next day. If anyone finds a resident in a desperate situation we will call you immediately!

That is all for now.
Thank you for your service to the people and blessing to you and the crew.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Advocates: cities are passing laws to harass the homeless

Advocates bash Cities for onerous anti-homeless laws. Here is an Associated Press report:

Slow jobless appeals lead to poverty. NJ to step up-about time

N.J. scrambles to get staffers for jobless appeals claims

20% increase in NYC homeless

The Associated Press has put together a video report dissecting the 20% increase in the number of homeless in NYC. Click here

Health news for women from the Federal government

Thanks to the #ACA certain preventive benefits are covered for many women at no out-of-pocket cost

From the Social Security Administration

Which social security benefits are you eligible for?

Veteran's job fairs

Here are links to two job fairs for veterans.

Veterans' job fair to be held Oct. 24 in Flemington

Union County to host a Veterans Job Fair and resource event 10/25 in Kenilworth

Sunday, October 7, 2012

2013 Point In Time census changes

For anyone interested in participating in the 2013 PIT below are new changes that HUD has mandated for the data collection.  Please use the link and read the 26 page PDF as we will need to perform these questions on the PIT.
If you have any questions please contact me.

Ryan L. Reilly, MPA
Program Development Specialist 1
Coordinator - Human Services Advisory Council
Ocean County Department of Human Services
1027 Hooper Ave., Bldg. 2,
Toms River, NJ  08754
Phone 732-506-5374 
Fax 732-341-4539

  2013 HIC & PIT Data Collection Requirements
In anticipation of the upcoming 2013 Housing Inventory Count (HIC) and Point-in-Time (PIT) count of homeless persons, HUD has published updated HIC and PIT guidance for Continuums of Care (CoCs). The updated guidance is outlined in the 2013 Housing Inventory Count (HIC) and Point-in-Time (PIT) Count of Homeless Persons: Data Collection Guidance.
CoCs are strongly encouraged to review the updated guidance, which provides information on how to prepare to successfully complete the upcoming HIC and PIT counts. As CoCs begin to organize and plan for these activities, staff should use it as a reference to ensure that they are capturing all of the required data.
Changes to the 2013 HIC:
The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP) Provider Program Type has been removed because HPRP ended on September 30, 2012.  
Rapid Re-housing (RRH) will be added as a new Provider Program Type due to the changes under ESG and CoC per the HEARTH Act.
All provider programs with inventory that have been identified as “Under Development” will need to indicate whether or not the provider program is expected to begin operation within the next 12 months.
Changes to the 2013 PIT:
CoCs will be required to report on the number of persons in each household type by one of the following age categories: under age 18, age 18 to 24, and over age 24.
CoCs will be required to report both the number of one-child households and the number of multi-child households in the household type “Households with Only Children.”
Unaccompanied youth will no longer be collected on the Subpopulation chart, as this information is now collected in the Populations chart.
CoCs will be required to report on the number of female veterans.
CoCs will be required to report on the number of sheltered and unsheltered persons in each of the subpopulation categories, except domestic violence, which will remain an optional subpopulation category.
CoCs will be required to report and explain the PIT counting methodologies used for sheltered counts (survey, HMIS extrapolation, other) and unsheltered counts (public place count, service-based count, observation, interview, sampling). This is similar to what is reported in the CoC application.
HUD encourages CoCs to engage their homeless assistance partners, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Runaway and Homeless Youth providers, Local Education Liaisons, and critical local agencies and service providers, to determine the most accurate count of homeless persons in your areas. HUD commends you for your great work and is grateful to be a partner with you in this critical effort.
Questions about the HIC, PIT, or unmet need?
All HIC, PIT, or unmet need questions should be submitted to the "HDX (PIT, HIC, AHAR, PULSE)" program/system on HUD HRE Virtual Help Desk.

From HUH, Homeless Resource Exchange:

2013 Housing Inventory Count (HIC) and Point-in-Time Count (PIT) of Homeless Persons Data Collection Guidance


This document provides information to Continuums of Care (CoCs) on what information to collect in order to successfully complete their 2013 Housing Inventory Count (HIC) and Point-in-Time (PIT) count. As CoCs begin to organize and plan these activities, staff should review this guidance and use it as a reference to ensure that they are capturing all of the required information.

For the PDF on data collection guidance, click here:

Unemployed N.J. veterans get a boost from job fairs; next is in Flemington

Beware of Foreclosure Rescue and Loan Modification Scams

A new breed of scam artist has grown along with the current mortgage crisis. This pamphlet available from the US government describes common foreclosure rescue scams, tell-tale signs of a scam operator, and whom to contact if you're caught in a scam. (Previous item number: 526W)
Source: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Released: 2009
Pages: 2
Publication ID: 6073
Item number: 526X
ISBN: 978-1-61221-053-7

Also available in Spanish

Tent City winter needs


We are getting ready for winter at Tent City and have many homeless residents this season.  We are doing our best to make sure that everyone has adequate heat before the "real" winter weather quickly starts.  We greatly appreciate any help and have attached the Winter Needs list.  Thank you for your support and concern for the homeless community.  Thank you from all the residents of Tent City!

God Bless,
Minister Steve
2012 Winter Needs for Tent City, P.O. Box 326, Lakewood, NJ 08701
PLEASE contact Minister Steve at (732) 364-0340 BEFORE bringing in any donations.  THANK YOU!
¨ Gift Cards: Home Depot or Lowes (for building materials to prepare for winter)
¨ Gift Cards: K Mart or Wal-Mart (for tents and other camping gear)
¨ Gift Cards: Gas Stations (Regular fuel for Generator use)
¨ Gift Cards: Gas Stations (Regular fuel for Generator use)
¨ Wood burning stoves (on sale at Harbor Freights during October)
¨ Electric Parabolic Heaters 400W/800W (on sale at Harbor Freights during October)
¨ Sleeping bags
¨ Cots
¨ Electric start Generators 7000Watts or higher
¨ Tents: 8 Man Capacity or Larger (new or used)
¨ Tarps: 15’ X 20’ and Larger
¨ Shovels, Leaf Rakes & Metal Graters
¨ Bottled Water: any size
¨ Pots & Pans
¨ Paper Products:  Paper Plates, Paper Towels, & Hot/Cold Cups
¨ Plastic Flatware: Forks, Spoons and Knives
¨ Toiletries: Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap and Body Wash
¨ Blankets
¨ New Socks
¨ Winter Clothing

              Thank you, from all the residents of Tent City!

WHYY reports: Artists from Trenton soup kitchen get exhibit at Grounds for Sculpture

October 4, 2012
By Ilene Dube, of The Artful Blogger
A burgundy haze is beginning to form in the canopy of trees at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton where, inside the education building, visitors can see the work of the A-Team artists through October 21.
Two-and-a-half miles away, on the concrete and asphalt Escher Street in Trenton, the color comes not from foliage but from the salon-style outpouring on the walls of the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK). In a room off of the main dining room, Susan Darley, A-Team coordinator, asks the artists to introduce themselves...  For more click here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Feeding the Hungry Feeds the Soul: A child's story

September 19, 2012 / Christi Zellerhoff

I DON’T WANT TO GO! protested my 9 year old son.  “Yes, you are going to go,” I said; and off we went to feed the homeless at a local church cooperative organization called “TRANSFORM BURIEN.”

How do you prepare your young children for what experiences they may encounter when feeding people in need?  Simply, be honest with them.

“You may see and feed people young and old, who haven’t showered; come in soiled clothing; look sad or angry; perhaps they will seem different to you,” I counseled him.  “Will they hurt me mom?” “No, you will be safe.”  Hesitantly, he got into the car with the rest of our family. His grumbling stopped, replaced with silence.

When we arrived, we were each assigned a “job” along the serving assembly line.  My son chose to hand out the plates and napkins-the first point of contact. This surprised me.

Standing next to him, at first I noticed that he was subdued, trying not to stare as, one by one, people extended their hand to receive their plate and napkin.   EVERY time he handed out a plate, he received a gracious “thank you.” “Your welcome,” he would reply. Then I noticed it-his skeptical demeanor changed. He began returning conversation to those who engaged him.

He looked at me and smiled big.

On the way home, I asked him how he felt about the experience. “What did you think about the people you met today? Where you scared?” His reply? “No mom, I realized they were no different than me.”

I still tear up when I tell this story. My 9 year old son taught me a beautiful lesson that day. He looked past the dirt, tattered clothing, sad and hungry eyes, and at times, offensive smells. He saw their hearts; he embraced their kind and gracious souls; and he served without prejudice.
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40) NIV
If only we ALL could be more like that!

College Student Recalls High School Homelessness

When Tierra Jackson was in high school, she was struggling. She kept getting yelled at for being late to school.
What most of her teachers and administrators didn't know was the reason for her tardiness: Jackson was homeless. Her mother was in and out of prison. She and her brother were living with her aunt and cousins. All seven of them shared a single room in one of Chicago's homeless shelters, a long bus ride from her school.
Her story (ttext and audio) can be found on the NPR Web site:

Advanced education is available, free in many instances.
Ocean County Library offers more than 500 courses thru Universal Class:

Another source of classes is :

Editorial: Trenton Rescue Mission 15-unit housing project provides new opportunities for hope

A group of donors and grantsmakers are banding together to create a 15-housing unit in Trenton on the corner of Perry and Carroll streets.
Tenants of the new Perry Street Supportive Permanent Housing Project will have access to case management services on site to help guide the residents to self-sufficiency as they seek employment and regain their lives. Combining housing with social services reflects the forward thinking of the Rescue Mission, which was founded in 1915.
The residents are expected to contribute 30 percent of their income toward rent, giving them an investment in the program’s continued success.

The full editorial from The Times of Trenton can be found at

More information about the project and the ground breaking ceremony can be found at

The permanent housing will be funded by government and private money.

Longtime president of Trenton's Habitat for Humanity to retire reports that David McAlpin will retire after 25 years at Trenton's Habitat for Humanity. During that time the group has built more than 80 homes.

Read the story on the Web: 

NJ Homekeeper program doesn't

Gov. Christie says that sometimes government doesn't work like it's supposed to.  Really? Isn't that his job?  (Or is it to go galavanting around the country campaigning for others?)  Is that all he has to say to the thousands of people who were denied $300 million in federal funds because his administrators artificially set standards too high?  No "sorry" to the people who lost their homes because of one more failure by his crew?

For more information check the story:

OC Freeholders: Hearing To Be Held at Toms River Senior Center


TOMS RIVER - The Ocean County Office of Senior Services has scheduled a public hearing on its 2013-15 Area Plan Contract for noon, Tuesday, Oct. 9, at the Toms River Senior Center, 652 Garfield Ave., here.

"The County Office of Senior Services serves as the focal point where older adults and their families can turn to for information regarding services and programs," said Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as Chairman of Senior Services. "The 2013-15 Area Plan Contract outlines Ocean County's plan for addressing the current and future needs of our seniors."

The 2013 Aging Services Plan includes 50 programs with 22 service providers; and is expected to serve approximately 32,000 individuals with access, home support, community support, nutrition support and caregiver services.

"These are key areas that help our seniors maintain their independence and their quality of life," Vicari said.

A copy of the 2013-15 Area Plan Contract Summary is available by calling the Ocean County Office of Senior Services at 732-929-2091 or 1-800-668-4899 and will be posted on the Ocean County website at

The programs are funded through federal, state and county funds totaling over $5.3 million.

Vicari stated that many are familiar with the County's safety network of services for the frail/disabled elderly, however, he said, the Office of Senior Services also has an important role in assisting the newly arrived senior adult in preparing for a healthy future.

"Our Office of Senior Services has a wide array of information and programs to promote healthy aging from helping people prepare for the numerous aspects of Medicare to choosing a healthier lifestyle; we try to meet the many needs of our older adult population," he said.

So far this year, 80 community presentations have been conducted. Health EASE programs such as Take Control of Your Health, Move Today and Mind Body are conducted in locations throughout the county.

"We work in partnership with other County agencies," Vicari said. "We have a great relationship with the Ocean County Library and the Ocean County Health Department rolling out programs."

So far this year, Senior Services staff helped over 7,000 people and provided information to over 9,000 visitors to its website. Major issues addressed by Senior Services staff were: Prescriptions, Tax Programs, Medicare/Health Insurance, In Home Services and Consumer Issues.

Jane Maloney, Director of the Office of Senior Services noted that the Oct. 9 meeting is the second one conducted by the Office of Senior Services on the 2013-15 Area Plan Contract. A public meeting was held at the Brick Senior Center in April to gather feedback regarding the needs of older adults.

"We encourage our residents to participate in this upcoming meeting regarding Ocean's plan to address our senior's needs," said Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little.