Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Homelessness in the news

Here are a couple of news items from the newspapers during the past couple of days:

Trenton Board of Education reports 226 of district's students are homeless ow.ly/2v7wf2

Battle for Lakewood homeless camp moves to courton.app.com/W7z0QB

RT @asburyparkpress: Homeless advocates rally in Lakewoodnjpm.co/13hW40P

'Homeless in Seaside Park' on.app.com/XTKYt5

Tent City needs Feb 26, 2013

Good afternoon everyone:   This morning I had occasion to visit the folks at Tent City and learned whilst there thay have a need for the following items so if anyone can help it would be great.
Starter logs for fires. (they are having to scrounge around for dry cardboard to use to get the wood burning fires going.
C Batteries

May the Lord continue  to bless each of you as you bless others with your help.


PS. March 1: Rosemary says they also need Handy Wipes.

Monday, February 18, 2013

New Salvation Army Center opens

Located at A&P Shopping Center
Ortley Beach
       Monday through Friday 10 - 4
Saturday 10-2
Sunday closed
Items may include:
New Clothing
Cleaning Supplies
Electric Heaters

The Housing and Community Development Network of NJ selects new ED

Network Appoints 
Staci Berger 
New Executive Director

TRENTON - The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (the Network), has announced the selection of Staci Berger as its new executive director. Ms. Berger will fill the vacancy created by Diane Sterner's departure beginning April 8, 2013.

"I am delighted to announce that the Executive Board has selected Staci Berger as the Network's new Executive Director," said Raymond Ocasio, Network executive board president. "After an extensive search, a committee of board members, staff, and key stakeholders agreed that Staci is the best person to maintain the momentum and energy that Diane has brought to the organization. 

Ms. Berger has served as the Network's Director of Policy and Advocacy since 2005.  In that time, she has been responsible for spearheading its policy work, helping to improve the Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit program, adopting nationally-recognized affordable housing compliance legislation, developing solutions to the foreclosure crisis and fighting to preserve the state's fair housing policies and programs.    

She led the Network's efforts to develop and implement the Network's "Advocacy Team" (A-Team) concept to strengthen and enhance the Network's visibility on policy issues. In these and other efforts, Staci has been thoroughly engaged in all of the Network's initiatives.  
Prior to joining the Network, Staci worked for nine years with New Jersey Citizen Action where she went from being an organizer to the Political and Legislative Director.  As the Political and Legislative Director, she devised and implemented political, legislative, and electoral strategy for the state's largest non-profit, non-partisan independent watchdog coalition.  She received her Masters in Public Affairs and Politics from Rutgers University in 2004.  Staci worked as a labor organizer with the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute and the Health Professionals and Allied Employees/AFT/AFL-CIO.  Staci graduated from Livingston College at Rutgers University, where she led student organizations working for affordable higher education in the Garden State. 

"I am thrilled to take on this new role.  Our Network has grown into a wide collection of organizations and people working to make New Jersey a better place for all our residents," Berger said. "Our members and supporters are revitalizing our state's most distressed areas and are on the front lines rebuilding from Sandy.  They are creating the housing choices and jobs that New Jersey needs.  Our members are bringing together women and children struggling to lift themselves of out poverty and parents striving to improve their schools. They are helping veterans to find homes and people with special needs to live independently. Network members create remarkable communities, in neighborhoods and among people. I am honored to be asked to lead us forward into the future."

The Housing and Community Development Network supports New Jersey's community development sector, collaborating with more than 250 members including community development corporations and other organizations to create affordable homes, expand economic opportunities, and build strong communities. For more information on the Network, visit www.hcdnnj.org.

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Court hearing postponed till Mar. 15

As most of you know, Lakewood has filed a motion with the Court to close Tent City.  The hearing on the motion was originally scheduled for February 22, 2013.  It has now been postponed.  The new date for the hearing is March 15, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. at the Courthouse in Toms River.
It is very important that people attend if they can.  There is a continuing need to demonstrate the strength of local concern about the struggles of homeless people, as well as strong support for a public/private effort to address and end homelessness. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Combat Veteran Presents His Vision for Leading VETS, Including Helping Vets with Disabilities & Homeless

Keith Kelly:

As the new assistant secretary for the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, I pledge to do my best to ensure that the 1.5 million service members expected to transition out of the military over the next five years are not alone.
My vision for VETS includes the following goals:
  • Improve outreach to service members and veterans (and also stakeholders) to ensure they are aware of and have access to the programs and services available to help them achieve their employment and career goals.
  • Sustain and bolster intensive employment services for those with significant barriers to employment, including veterans who have disabilities, are on public assistance, lack necessary education or are homeless.
  • Fully implement and continuously improve the department’s redesigned Transition Assistance Program; and work with our partner agencies such as the departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, Homeland Security and others to make TAP a part of comprehensive efforts to seamlessly transition service members, National Guard and Reserve members and their families from active duty to civilian life.
  • Increase and enhance the ability of VETS to measure and report on the impact of our programs by improving data collection and reporting.
For more click here.

APP editorial: Alternatives lacking for Tent City residents

 Asbury Park Press editorial: Feb 06, 2013

Another battle in a long-running war between Lakewood and Ocean County officials on one side and “Tent City” leaders is under way. And though a two-week truce was called Monday, the war is far from over.
Last week, legal notices were posted announcing that, starting today, authorities would come in and disassemble the camp if the tents had not already been taken down. Eighty people would have been completely homeless.
Last year, Superior Court Judge Joseph Foster refused to allow Lakewood to shut down the camp, stating that the residents could not be moved without an alternative place to live.  Officials contend that Tent City leaders have not abided by their part of the bargain to forbid more people from moving in. But neither has the county. It hasn’t offered any alternatives, including entering into a partnership with other parties, public or private, to build a county homeless shelter.
Before bulldozing Tent City, both the county and the township need to come up with alternatives for those who find themselves, literally, out in the cold. Some of these residents have substance abuse problems and/or mental illness, and have been reluctant to leave Tent City. But many have fallen on bad luck and hard times. All of them need some help.
Long-term homelessness may be a tough nut to crack, but what is becoming increasingly clear is that Lakewood simply lacks the will to keep its citizens safe — in Tent City and in the township’s thousands of dilapidated rental houses. And Ocean County lacks the desire to use anything more than an iron fist to deal with the homeless in its midst.
A judge properly ruled that alternative housing must be provided before Tent City can be razed. That has yet to happen. Authorities must, as a matter of basic decency, provide a shelter or some alternative before sending in the bulldozers.

State Senate to hold rebuilding hearings in Toms River Monday morning

This meeting will be held in Toms River on Monday morning.

Senate Budget and Appropriations Meeting 10:00 AM

L.M. Hirshblond Room, 2nd Floor, at the Toms River
Municipal Complex, 33 Washington Street, Toms River, NJ 08753

Chair: Sen. Sarlo, Paul A.

The Committee will hear testimony from invited witnesses on issues surrounding
coastal planning and rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Tent City reprieve

From the NJ Coalition to End Homelessness:

This morning News 12 has reported that the Tent City in Lakewood, New Jersey would be demolished today.    Thanks to the attorney Jeff Wild, Esq., who represents the Tent City residents, the order has been overturned.

Nothing in Tent City will be demolished and no one will be fined any time soon!

Lakewood's Tent City homeless camp to get a reprieve

LAKEWOOD — Tent City, the homeless encampment near the Jersey shore, is getting another reprieve this week.

Lakewood town officials are backing off — for now — a plan to tear down the camp and evict its 80 or so residents from the woods near a minor league baseball stadium.

To read more, click here.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

FEMA Saturday hours change

FEMA Saturday Hours to Change

TRENTON, N.J. — Saturday hours for New Jersey disaster recovery centers will change to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 2. Monday through Friday the hours will remain 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Survivors can locate their closest center online at FEMA.gov/DRC.

Help and information are always available online or by phone. Survivors can apply for disaster assistance or check on the status of their applications at DisasterAssistance.gov, by using a smartphone or tablet at m.FEMA.gov, or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 800-462-7585 or 711/VRS.

Survivors can ask questions about their Small Business Administration disaster home loan applications by calling 800-659-2955 or TTY 800-877-8339 or emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Additional resources are available online at FEMA.gov/SandyNJ.

There have been more than 67,000 survivor visits to New Jersey centers since opening in November.