The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the County’s adult homeless shelter on Thursday, Nov. 7 at Fort Monmouth in Oceanport.
“We have an obligation to help our Monmouth County residents who may not be able to help themselves due to a number of circumstances,” said Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone, liaison to the Department of Public Works and Engineering. “Cutting the ribbon on this exceptional facility symbolizes the opening of a safe haven that will help this vulnerable population overcome their respective obstacles.”
FMERA funded the construction of the 4,500-square-foot shelter, which will offer temporary housing, counseling and other services to adults until further resources are identified. These services are funded by Monmouth County and administered by the Affordable Housing Alliance (AHA).
“The former emergency homeless shelter was lost during Superstorm Sandy, which forced its occupants to relocate to other facilities” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) Board Member. “Both the County and FMERA understood the need to replace the ruined shelter and, through a collaborative partnership, we were able to achieve the goal of once again providing lodging and services to the homeless.”
The new facility is able to house up to 16 residents for 30 days each. Housing includes a 12-bed dorm for men, a four-bed dorm for women, separate restrooms and showers for men and women, a laundry room, a clothing sorting and storage room, a counseling office and a security desk. The central resident common area has a kitchen and pantry, a 16-person dining area, a computer nook and a seating area with a television.
“Homelessness is a life-altering circumstance that can be attributed to a number of factors, such as lack of affordable housing and absence of services to help with mental illnesses and substance abuse issues,” said Freeholder Susan M. Kiley, liaison to the Department of Human Services. “Through the new shelter, the County and AHA will be able to deliver temporary relief and quality support to this extremely vulnerable population.”
For more information about housing services in Monmouth County, go to www.visitmonmouth.com.