Giving Back

Donations Sought for the Homeless in Somerset County

 

SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Somerset County Department of Human Services is seeking donations of personal and clothing items to be included in packages that will be distributed Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, when Somerset County will conduct its annual “Point-in-Time” survey of homeless individuals and families in Somerset County.

Requested personal items include shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash, deodorant, lotion, and feminine hygiene products, as well as new blankets and towels.

Clothing items include new hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, socks, underwear, sweatshirts/pants and T-shirts.

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Other items include bottled water and juice boxes, as well as individually wrapped snacks: granola bars, crackers, nuts and trail mix.

“I want to thank the public for their generosity in the past,” said Freeholder Brian D. Levine, Human Services liaison. “Given the difficult economy, individuals and families that are already vulnerable are finding it even more difficult to make ends meet, and any donations would be greatly appreciated.”

Donations can be dropped off weekdays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. through Friday, Jan. 22, at the Somerset County Community Development Office, located on the fourth floor of the Human Services Building at 27 Warren St. in Somerville. County offices will be closed Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day.

Free parking is available in the parking deck at 27 Warren St., on the third and fourth floors only. Additional free parking is available about two blocks away in the Bernie Field Parking Deck on East High Street, adjacent to the county administration building. Metered parking also is available on Main Street.

“Point-in-Time” volunteers will interview the homeless as part of Project Homeless Connect.

Social service organizations will be on hand to screen clients for relevant services and distribute donated items.

The survey is part of a statewide effort to obtain an accurate snapshot of New Jersey’s homeless population in response to a directive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The data is also used by county and local non-profit agencies when applying for grants to assist the homeless population.

Collecting baseline data is essential to understanding the causes of homelessness and designing effective responses. Somerset County is required to report the number of people who are homeless at particular intervals in order to apply for HUD Continuum-of-Care funding, which is a discretionary grant that provides housing and supportive services to people with special needs. Data collection at regular intervals also helps track progress toward reducing homelessness.

For more information, contact Jeremy Hirsch, Somerset County Community Development Office, at (908) 541-5756 or hirsch@co.somerset.nj.us.

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