Thursday, January 16, 2014

Patch reports Toms River will build a 72-unit affordable housing complex for disabled, "very low income" families

Patch reports: Officials announced this week that federal funding would be allotted toward a 72-unit affordable housing complex that is being planned for a plot of land off Massachusetts Avenue.

Freedom Village at Toms River has been approved by the township's planning board and will be built on 10 acres of land at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and West Hickory Street, township officials confirmed to Patch.

For more information click here.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Free 6-week online class based on the Social Good Summit.

"How to Change the World"
From the bulletin: How can we use the things we share in common to address some of the most challenging problems facing the world?  This course examines issues concerning poverty, the environment, technology, health care, gender, education and activism to help us to understand better how to initiate positive change.

Week 1: What are social goods? From the Commons to Moral Revolutions.
Week 2: Poverty, Prosperity and Aid
Week 3: Climate Change and Sustainability
Week 4: Disease and Global Health Care
Week 5: Women, Education and Social Change
Week 6: Education, Social Networks and Activism

Readings will be presented as PDFs or as links to other sites.

Instructor is Michael Roth, president of Wesleyan University.

Classes are free and begin Monday Jan. 20.

The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) based on 2013 Summit launches Jan 20 -- sign up here:

If we have enough people sign up perhaps we can have a discussion group meeting to discuss the class issues.


Care for the Poor, Quite A Challenge


James Martin, S.J.’s offered up a concise summary of Pope Francis’ message since taking on leadership of the Catholic Church in March on the Colbert Report last night: “Christ invites you into simple living and to help the poor as an invitation to be part of the reign of God.”  Fr. Martin later noted, “If you have a problem with Pope Francis.  You have a problem with Jesus.”

In recent weeks Pope Francis’ comments on the global economy have received critique in the media from a small number of wealthy Catholics who have expressed concern that his message is disconcerting to some people.  In his tongue-in-cheek manner, Colbert questioned Martin on this asking, “Why is he gunning for the big money people?”  Martin’s response: “Jesus tells us to care for the poor…The Pope said I care for the poor and the rich alike.  But he has a responsibility to tell everyone that the rich need to care and respect the poor.”
To read the remainder of this blog click here. It includes a link to Fr. James Martin's SJ appearance on the Colbert Report earlier this week and his discussion about people's response to poverty and the poor. 

Homeless: Vulnerable Amid the Polar Vortext

Ignatian Solidarity Network
In light of the recent polar vortex, we are called to think about homeless outreach throughout the country. This past week, many homes lost power, forcing people to take shelter in schools, churches or community centers. For one or two nights, a mass amount of people experienced a sliver of what it is like to live in a shelter. Though this is nothing compared to what the chronically homeless face, it is important to realize homelessness happens everywhere and no one is immune. Any person could become homeless at any moment, whether from job loss, natural disaster or economic stress. In recognizing this, we can realize the solidarity that innately exists between people who are homeless and those that are not, we are all one people susceptible to tough times.

For many Jesuit institutions across the country, their relationships with those who are homeless have developed through projects or ministries named after St. Joseph Benedict Labre.  Labre, the patron saint of the homeless, provides us a context to see the presence of God in our homeless brothers and sisters.  Finding God happens when you look into a person’s eyes, you see their soul, moving you to compassionately love. For Christians, this is the experience of Eucharist.
To read the rest of this blog click here.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

This week's abnormal cold and the Ocean County homeless

Low temperatures and wind that made it seem like -40 degrees F provided life-threatening conditions to local homeless men and women.

WOBM did a story about Lakewood's efforts to provide emergency shelter. That story can be found here

WOBM did a followup article, "The Homeless and the Cold: a Dangerous Combination" by Jason Allentof. To read that report click here. 

From United Way of Ocean County: 
When temperatures drop below freezing, and conditions pose a threat to individuals who are homeless or medically fragile, a network of agencies throughout New Jersey helps people obtain shelter, food and clothing. Warming Centers are also opened during stated hours to provide residents with a place that they
can go to warm up. Here is the list:  
Nice theory. Unfortunately, Ocean County only has two and they are both in Little Egg Harbor.

OC Dept. of Human Services: Project Homeless Connect 2014 & Point in Time Count

Ocean County Department of Human Services
Project Homeless Connect 2014
and Point-in-Time Count  
CoC/ CEAS Meeting 
Monday, January 13
at 9am 
at the Ocean County Dept of Human Services 

Point-in-Time Count Interview Training
Monday, January 13 
at 11am 
at the Ocean County Dept of Human Services
PHC Giveaway Bag Preparation
Monday, January 27
at 11am 
at the Ocean County Dept of Human Services

Project Homeless Connect 
Wednesday, January 29
Various Sites - see flyer 
Dear Community Partners, 

On January 29, 2014, Ocean County will participate in the annual statewide Project: Homeless Connect and Point In Time Count in an effort to determine the number of people who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness in our community and engage those individuals in appropriate services. The Count is a vital component of the ongoing process to assess and address Ocean County's need for services for this vulnerable population. The Count also contributes valuable information towards implementing and evaluating strategies to prevent homelessness.

As a leader in the human services community, we ask for your assistance.  

~ Please help us reach individuals who may be homeless or at risk by sharing the Project: Homeless Connect sites throughout Ocean County. Please post and share this flyer with your clients, staff, constituents, patrons, and contacts. Additional copies are available upon request. 

~ If you are familiar with particular individuals or frequented areas, please contact my office with that information so that we can coordinate outreach and engagement.

~ Please send in information, flyers, and brochures about pertinent services provided by your organization so that it can be shared with survey participants.

Thank you in advance for your assistance and for your service to Ocean County.

Jamie Busch
Coordinator, Human Services Advisory Council 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

NJ Coalition to End Homelessness welcomes new director

The Coalition is pleased to announce the appointment of Deb Ellis as Executive Director. Created in 2012, the statewide Coalition works to eradicate homelessness through public policy advocacy, education, and organizing. 

“The appointment of Deb Ellis is a critical part of our initiatives to end homelessness in New Jersey,” said Alison Recca-Ryan, the Coalition’s President. “Deb’s passion, extensive advocacy experience, and energetic dedication will enable the Coalition to be a leading voice for the homeless of New Jersey and ensure that homeless individuals are treated with dignity and respect.”

Deb has had a long career as a social justice advocate, both in New Jersey, where she was the Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, and on the national level. Deb’s work on behalf of the homeless began in the late 1980’s as an overnight volunteer at the Riverside Church’s shelter in NYC. Since moving to New Jersey, she has volunteered for both the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Essex County and Toni’s Kitchen in her hometown of Montclair.

Most recently, Deb was Assistant Dean for Public Service at NYU School of Law, where she launched a new generation of lawyers into public interest law while creating innovative programs to strengthen NYU’s institutional commitment to public service. Deb’s work at NYU was recognized by a White House Champion of Change Award, the National Association for Law Placement’s Leadership and Public Service award, and the NYU Law Alumni Association Public Servic Award.

“I am grateful to have this opportunity to serve,” Ellis said. “It is a travesty that in New Jersey, with some of the wealthiest counties in the U.S., we have thousands of homeless individuals and families. It is hard to believe that some New Jersey citizens even live in tent cities, just like the Hoovervilles of the Depression era. I am looking forward to working with partner organizations in New Jersey to find innovative solutions.” 

In addition to serving as Legal Director of the ACLU of New Jersey and of NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, Deb was a staff attorney at the national ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center and a partner in a small employment discrimination law firm in Newark. She has taught at NYU and Rutgers Law Schools and at Yale College, and has spoken and published widely on social justice. Deb graduated from Yale College and NYU School of Law. Deb can be reached at