Other NJ News

Press Releases

NJ 2-1-1 Participating in NJCounts 2017

21a1cf419f225b4e1d2d_NJcounts.jpg
Credits: NJCounts
21a1cf419f225b4e1d2d_NJcounts.jpg

East Hanover, NJ - On January 25, 2017, all New Jersey counties will participate in NJCounts 2017, a state-wide Point-In-Time Count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless people, as mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Serving as the homeless hotline in four counties in the state (after-hours in Hudson and Morris counties and round-the-clock in Middlesex and Passaic counties), NJ 2-1-1 will take an active role in this count by counting every caller from anywhere in the state who identifies themselves as being homeless. Without the organization’s involvement in this effort, some homeless people could go uncounted.

The count is performed every year in our state with the help of volunteers and agencies who are devoted to efforts to end homelessness. People involved in the count will tally the homeless populations in all of the shelters throughout the state, but will also take to the streets to be sure that those living outside of shelters are included.

“Everyone knows that the scarcity of affordable housing is an issue in our state,” says Janice Kaniewski, NJ 2-1-1 call center director,” but it is sobering to hear the voices of those who are facing the prospect of immediate homelessness.” In 2016, 27,068 people statewide called our office looking for help with a housing-related issue; over 20,000 of those calling were looking for shelter or emergency housing. An additional 185,000 searches occurred on the NJ 2-1-1 resource database last year using one of the following terms: Housing; Shelter; Homeless. Add these figures to the fact that over 83,000 in the same time period contacted the call center looking for financial assistance resources. “People are struggling,” states NJ 2-1-1 board president, Gina Plotino. “There is just no denying that.”

Sign Up for E-News

Monarch Housing Associates, the organization that is responsible for coordinating NJCounts 2017, identifies several factors that will contribute to this year’s count of homeless families, youth and veterans, including:

  • Shelters reporting lack of capacity to house homeless families throughout 2016. (New Jersey state emergency assistance no longer reimburses shelters.)
  • A shortage of rental housing driving up demand and costs.
  • Failure by Congress to increase funding for the federal Housing Choice Voucher program hinders creation of affordable and supportive housing.
  • New Jersey’s higher than national average rate of foreclosures (foreclosures cause many owners and renters to lose their homes).
  • The multitude of jobs in New Jersey that do not pay a living wage (and those jobs that do pay a living wage that are leaving the state).

When those in need of assistance dial 211, their call is answered by a compassionate call specialist who knows community resources. Every call begins with an inquiry of “How can I help you today?” and is followed by empathetic listening. “Our staff is trained to hear the needs expressed by our callers as well as to listen for other ways they can be of assistance,”Ms. Kaniewski explains. “We have thousands of resources in our database and information on many assistance programs,” she continues. “If a caller is not eligible for assistance in one area, they may be able to get help in another. Our call specialists know that and do all they can to connect callers with agencies and organizations that can provide critical resources.”

The very same resource database that call specialists use is available to the public on the organization’s website (www.nj211.org). Searches can be based on a need (like “shelter”) or an agency’s name, and results can be limited by county or zip code to find nearby resources. The site also offers topical resource pages that have been written to provide the public with information about programs and services in the state. A search for “affordable housing” results in a broad list of resource categories to choose from, including such topics as Housing/Shelter, Housing Counseling, Low Cost Home Rental Listings, Veteran Homes, Low Income Home Loans, and much more. To the right of that listing is a listing of related web pages and PDFs that often provides snap-shot information on federal, state and local programs, eligibility requirements, application links and contact numbers. Amongst the suggested pages for “affordable housing,” is a page entitled Homeless in New Jersey (https://www.nj211.org/homeless-in-new-jersey) with specific information on how to find help.

“While it is true that many, many individuals and families are struggling in our state, they should know that they are not alone,” insists Ms. Plotino. “When they don’t know where to turn, I hope they will turn to us so that we can help them find the resources that may make a difference.” NJ 2-1-1 is a free, confidential and multilingual statewide information and referral service that is open every day of the year - day or night.

 

# # #

 

About NJ 2-1-1

The statewide information and referral service began in 2002 when the United Ways of New Jersey spearheaded efforts to give people-in-need an easy way to find health and human services by encouraging the Board of Public Utilities to designate the NJ 2-1-1 Partnership as the sole administrator of the three digit dialing code. Statewide coverage began in 2005. In 2016 alone, the NJ 2-1-1 Partnership provided resource assistance to over 363,000 people who called 2-1-1 or visited our website. With roughly 3,000 agencies in the organization’s resource database and over 10,000 programs and services listed, NJ 2-1-1 provides the public with front door access to non-profit, government and faith-based services, as well as disaster response information. Follow us on Twitter @NJ211 and FB https://www.facebook.com/nj211partnership/.

Lori A. Price Abrams | VP, Government Relations MWWPR D609.503.8043 O609.396.0067 M609.575.0334 lpabrams@mww.com

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Cranford

Westfield High School Sophomore Dies; Counselors on Hand at School

June 19, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Carthoris “Carter” Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High School, died Sunday night, according to Westfield Public Schools and a letter sent to parents by Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson.

“Words cannot convey the grief we feel in the Westfield Public Schools community over the death of Carthoris ‘Carter’ Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High ...

Cranford High Senior Prom

June 16, 2018

CRANFORD - Cranford High School held its Senior Prom on Friday at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany. Check out the photos our readers submitted. 

Spring Art Show Displays Students' Creativity

CRANFORD - The Cranford High School Spring Art Show was held at the Cranford Public Library, on Tuesday. 

From 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., artwork from classes such as crafts, graphic design, photography, and drawing was on display for the public to promote the creative and unique projects done by students throughout the school year. 

Senior Awards Recipients

CRANFORD - On Thursday, June 7th, Cranford High School held its annual Senior Awards Ceremony. Here is a full list of the awards and winners. 

 

Cranford High School Award for Outstanding Achievement

Top 5% of the Class of 2018

Recipient: Jack Callan, Alannah Clarke, Meg Cui, Caroline Kelly, Julia Kelly, Nicholas Macchi, Katherine Ruane, Layla Serna, Katherine Stochel, ...

Sports Betting Is Off And Running in New Jersey

June 14, 2018

OCEANPORT, NJ — Governor Phil Murphy officially ushered in sports betting in New Jersey when he made the initial wager at Monmouth Park  on June 14.

Governor Murphy, an avid soccer fan who has called ESPN’s “Sportscenter” his favorite show, placed the first bet  — $20 on Germany to win the World Cup. He also bet $20 on the N.J. Devils to ...

Union County’s Free Summer Arts Concert Series Launches this Friday, June 22

June 19, 2018

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra kicks off Union County’s 57th annual Summer Arts Festival series of free outdoor concerts sponsored by the Freeholder Board with an evening of Broadway favorites, beloved opera overtures and more on Friday June 22nd at 7:30 p.m. at Echo Lake Park in Mountainside.

Attendees are also invited to bring a mat or beach towel and join in a free Union County Get ...

Healthy U Spring Symposium Marks 10 Years of Community Impact

WESTFIELD, NJ — More than 100 Healthy U champions and partners from YMCAs and schools from all over the state gathered at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on May 18 to celebrate 10 years of community impact. Healthy U was also formally presented with the 2017 CATCH® Award for Excellence in State Health. 

CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) is the ...

Summer Water Safety Tips

Summer is a great time for parents to ensure their children are equipped with essential water safety skills. The Westfield Area YMCA offers weekly swim lessons all summer long and in Monday-Thursday weekly sessions.

Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 5-14. Remember these tips to ensure the water is an enjoyable and safe place to ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, June 23, 9:00 AM

Between Park Street and Washington Street, Westfield

Walking Tour: What Makes a Great House and ...

Home & Garden

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 9, 2018

Dear Editor:

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by ...