New Jersey Holds First Statewide Project Homeless Connect Day in the Nation

Friday, February 16, 2007

On January 25, counties across New Jersey conducted a Point-in-Time survey of the homeless population. For the first time in the nation, a count of the homeless population was linked to statewide Project Homeless Connect events to provide services, hospitality and housing information in a convenient one-stop model for people experiencing homelessness.

In total, services for the homeless were provided at 43 sites across the state. While numbers are still being tabulated, at least 4,192 homeless guests were assisted by 735 volunteers, and 138 homeless persons were referred to a shelter for the night due to their attendance at one of the events. Newark Office Director Diane Johnson joined U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) Executive Director Philip Mangano, HUD Regional Director Sean Moss and ICH Regional Coordinator Samuel Miller in Paterson at one of the three Passaic County Project Homeless Connect events. The event in Paterson demonstrated the federal, state and local partnerships that have been developed to address homelessness, as other attendees included New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells and Passaic County Freeholder Director Elease Evans.

[Photo 1: Group picture]
At the Project Homeless Connect event in Paterson, NJ, (from left) Dr. James Pruden, Co-Chair of Passaic County Interagency Council on Homelessness, HUD Regional Director Sean Moss, HUD Newark Office Director Diane Johnson, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director Philip Mangano, Passaic County Freeholder Director Elease Evans, NJ Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells, Jay Boxwell, Chairman of Passaic County Project Homeless Connect, Yvonne Zuidema, President & CEO Passaic County United Way, and Samuel Miller, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Messrs. Mangano and Miller then went on to the Hudson County Project Homeless Connect event at the Armory in Jersey City, and to the Hudson County State of the County Address delivered by County Executive Thomas DeGise. One of Mr. DeGise's four major initiatives is to combat chronic homelessness. After the address, Mr. Mangano spoke in support of resolutions to develop a 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness and to promote affordable housing in the County.

Six HUD Newark Office staff members volunteered at the Essex County Project Homeless Connect event in Newark. The HUD staff directed the homeless to appropriate service providers, assembled and handed out backpacks containing toiletries and clothing, and insured that those attending the event completed the Point-in-Time homeless surveys.

[Photo 2: Group picture]
From left, HUD Newark Office volunteers Alan Gelfand, Adolphus Evans, Kelly Peterson, Elizabeth Williams, Pa-Kota Cobb, and Jo Ann Burrell at the Essex County Project Homeless Connect event.
[Photo 3: Providing services to the homeless]
Services provided to the homeless in Newark included eye examinations, haircuts, manicures, and blood pressure tests.
[Photo 4: Group picture]
Newark Office Director Diane Johnson joined Essex County Executive Joseph Di Vincenzo (left) and Newark City Councilman and Essex County Freeholder Donald Payne, Jr. (right) at the Newark event.

Positive articles on the homeless count and the Project Homeless Connect events appeared in virtually every daily newspaper in New Jersey. The effort was led by Monarch Housing Associates, the Corporation for Supportive Housing, the NJ Alliance to End Homelessness, the NJ Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency, and the Human Services Advisory Councils (HSAC) and Comprehensive Emergency Assistance System (CEAS) committees in each of the State's counties. All in all, the day represented a significant step forward in the State of New Jersey's efforts to find a home for every resident.

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