PATERSON, NJ - Up until Thursday Richard Moore, 20, was a Paterson resident with big dreams of a successful music career. Today, he still has those same dreams, but as a resident of Linden, the next stop in a journey he hopes will take him to California.

Living in what one might refer to as a rooming house at 157 N. Main Street, Moore was well liked by his neighbors, including Tahara Johnson who said she was glad he was getting an opportunity to move somewhere that might be more conducive to his needs.

“He’s a good guy,” she said. “He deserves it.”

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With a round of fist bumps, and a bit of assistance from Mayor Andre Sayegh, Richard put his belongings, which amounted to two black plastic sacks, into the rideshare service car that was arranged for him, and was off to start his new life.

As the car pulled away Sayegh said that his departure was made possible by the newly established Travel Benefit Initiative launched jointly by Paterson Relief, the Passaic County Board of Social Service, Eva’s Village, and Catholic Charities. Through the program eligible homeless, or home insecure, residents will be able to obtain financial assistance to provide them with travel to the communities of their choice where additional support, including family, will be more available to them.

“Homelessness has become more prevalent during the pandemic,” Sayegh pointed out, acknowledging that the issue often comes with other societal ills such as drug use and crime. “Whether it’s in Paterson or elsewhere we need to provide these residents the help they need to get on the path to permanent housing that everyone deserves to be on.”

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