Sunday, February 23, 2014

This is the new date of the hearing that was postponed by weather last fall.

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Hearing Scheduled for March 25th Advocates Share Talking Points

Advocates for efforts to End Homelessness in New Jersey have prepared sample talking points with strategies that should be considered in the statewide plan to end homelessness.

The talking points are offered to all who plan to testify at the Interagency Council on the Homeless hearing that will be held on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at from 1 – 4 PM at the NJ State Museum Auditorium. Additional information regarding the public hearing will be sent out in the beginning of March.

The strategies include:
1. Adopt Housing First as a State Policy
2. Create a Rapid Re-Housing rate for boards of social services
3. Support Local Efforts to Create Centralized and/or Coordinated Assessment Systems
4. Set a priority for homelessness with the State Public Housing Agency (PHA) and encourage the same from local PHAs
5. Assist local Continuums of Care (CoC) in retooling transitional housing

The talking points also make recommendations that would address impediments to the delivery of services
 Ensure that all agencies receiving state contracts for service funding are required to serve the most difficult to house homeless and focus their resources on solutions that work, while encouraging well-designed innovations for continuous improvement Encourage all state agencies that receive funding to assist the homeless, including DHS and DCA, to coordinate funding for housing and homeless services.
 Require participation of local Boards of Social Services in Continuum of Care (CoC) homeless planning activities Coordinate with local CoCs and ensure that all grants for state funding for homeless activities require local CoC approval

Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Richard Constable and Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Jennifer Velez will hold an Interagency Council on Homelessness public hearing on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 to hear from the public about how the State can best address the needs of homeless New Jerseyans.

The public hearing will be held from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the at the NJ State Museum Auditorium at 205 West State Street, Trenton.

The Council is particularly interested in hearing views on two topics: Best practices in homeless services delivery and Impediments to the delivery of homeless services.

Individuals planning to speak will be limited to 3 minutes and will be expected to focus on one or both of those topics. Written remarks may be submitted via: email at or mail to Homeless Council Public Testimony, NJ Department of Human Services, Office of the Commissioner, PO Box 700, Trenton, NJ 08625-0700.

If you are in need of an accommodation, please contact Jennifer Crowley at the NJ Department of Human Services at (609) 292-6090 no later than Wednesday, December 11, 2013.

Please note that the public hearing is an opportunity to provide your comments, only. It is not interactive.

NYT: "I'm homeless, not stupid"

Needing help is not the same as being helpless.
"I'm homeless, not stupid," says a resident of a Quixotic Village, a self-governing micro-housing settlement in Washington state.
Twenty-four men and women were moved into their own tiny apartments Christmas Eve, much like the houses advocated for by Ocean County's Destiny's Bridge the past three years.
The houses are small: 8 by 18 feet, 144 square feet. But providing a transitional house is the second step in moving people from homelessness to living in permanent housing.
"It's about providing homes for people who were in tents a month ago," said Garner Miller, an architect who helped create the new village's layout and living model.
Read the complete story in this New York Times article.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014



February 13, 2014

Chris Donnelly

(609) 847-3700

Residents Who Have Failed To Get Sandy Aid Answers Or Assistance Encouraged To Attend

TRENTON – In an effort to bring the thousands of victims of Superstorm Sandy the answers, assistance and results they deserve, Senate President Steve Sweeney will be conducting a "Sandy Bill of Rights" tour, with stops in Perth Amboy, Toms River and Moonachie.  Information regarding these stops is below.  Residents who believe they have wrongly been denied Sandy aid and/or have failed to get answers from the administration as to why they were denied are encouraged to attend and share their stories with the media and Senate President Sweeney.
Friday, February 21
11:00 a.m.
Toms River Elks Lodge #1875; 600 Washington Street in Toms River
A town hall style meeting where residents will be able to share their stories on the difficulties of getting Sandy aid.
Two weeks ago, Senate President Sweeney introduced legislation that would establish a “Sandy Bill of Rights.” The bill of rights would do several things, including requiring a plain language explanation of what is needed to be eligible and to apply for Sandy recovery programs; the right to know where your relief application stands and what additional information is needed; the right to know why your application was rejected or why you were placed on a waiting list and the right to appeal a denial of funding. 

Decriminalizing homelessness

Here is a roundup article about the foul attempts by some politicians to outlaw homelessness and the push-back by people who know better, including Utah which is on the road to ending homelessness.

Click here. to read the story.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

America magazine speaks out on the homeless

America magazine, The National Catholic Weekly published by the Jesuits, posted an editorial (Dec. 23, 2013) and follow up comment (Feb. 24, 2014) that I have to bring to your attention.

The editorial (to read, click here) begins with:

Wend your way through the streets of any large city, teeming with Christmas shoppers, where store windows glisten with expensive watches and handbags, and it is all too easy to avert your eyes from those dehumanized shapes in doorways or sprawled on the steps or stretched out in the pews of open churches. Swathed in blankets, they peer out with blank eyes from between scarves and wool hats as they display their cardboard manifestos: House burned down. Wounded Vet. Hungry. Pregnant. Jobless. Help. The message is sobering: We are helpless, abandoned and dependent on your seasonal generosity...

Their follow up can be read here. It is the third article in "Current Comment."

Some major cities have responded by arresting the victims or requiring religious groups to pay for a permit in order to feed the homeless in public parks. Utah, in contrast, under Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman, started a program in 2005 called Housing First that identified the chronically homeless and designed strategies to supply permanent or transitional housing to meet their needs. The state calculated that the costs of emergency services and incarceration amount to $16,670 each year for a chronically homeless person but found that it could supply each person with an apartment and case management services for $11,000.

As a result of the program, the number of chronically homeless people in Utah has dropped from 1,900 in 2005 to fewer than 500 today. How did this happen? 

Assisting the poor and homeless has gotten a new advocate with the election of Pope Francis, but it is not only a Catholic concern. Providing aid to the poor is a basic tenet of Islam, and some of the homeless most active supporters are from the Jewish community. They and non-religious people alike who see poverty and homelessness as social justice issues  have contributed so much time and effort to eliminate this indictment of our society.

There are opportunities for you to help: local government agencies, community service groups, religious organizations, and support organizations.  Need to find one? Know of one that is looking for volunteers? Let me know.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

CASA volunteers of Mercer County find stabilizing a child's life very rewarding

MERCER—Thinking of all the children not able to sleep in their own beds used to keep Lori Morris from falling asleep in hers, so she joined an organization meant to fill in the cracks of the foster system to prevent more children from falling into them.

She’s not alone. While they represent a variety of occupations, ages, races and backgrounds, the volunteers of Mercer County Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) program have a singular goal in mind: to help the helpless.

To read more click here.

Poor and innocent

"We have a system of justice that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent."

Where is the mayor?

Portland residents carry pitchforks & torches to demand the city stop arresting the homeless:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

60 Minutes reports on housing 100,000; it's results in Nashville

60 Minutes had a program this evening, Sunday Feb. 9 about the 100,000 homes for homeless program. So far it has provided homes for 80,000.and saves taxpayers money.

To view the episode click here.

Florida Ordinance Makes It Illegal For Homeless To Use Blankets Read more at TLR: Florida Ordinance Makes It Illegal For Homeless To Use Blankets | The Libertarian Republic Follow us: @LibRepublic on Twitter | LibertarianRepublic on Facebook

Is it illegal to be homeless in Pensacola?

Yes, despite the sunny ads that gloat about warm Florida weather, it does on occasion get cold down there. Sometimes it even goes below freezing and the homeless not only have no place to lay their head but in Pensacola they aren't even allowed to cover themselves with blankets (or newspapers) to fend off the cold.

Check it out and click here.

I checked the Internet for more information about this situation. You might be interested in learning more by checking and Sean’s Outpost Announces Satoshi Forest, Nine-Acre Sanctuary for the Homeless 

Any updates?