MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ - Coming Home of Middlesex County, Inc., Middlesex County’s single, coordinating entity for ending homelessness in Middlesex County, will host its first fundraiser, an Evening Social and Silent Auction, at 7 p.m. Oct. 2.

Attendees will enjoy dinner, beverages and entertainment for $60 per person. The event will be held at Seabra’s Armory, 200 Front St. in Perth Amboy.

With the collaboration of social service providers, municipal government, affordable housing developers and housing finance agencies, Coming Home is working toward the establishment of a system that is data driven and evidence-based that utilizes the policy of rehousing persons as quickly as possible and providing connections to needed supports once they are housed.

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Coming Home is seeking to raise necessary private funds to compliment public funds committed to this approach.

Also during the evening, the winner of the Coming Home/Catholic Charities Photography Contest will be revealed.

Earlier this year, modeled after a similar initiative in Paris, France, Coming Home and Catholic Charities instituted a Photography Club for persons experiencing homelessness.

“Oftentimes, persons who are homeless feel marginalized and disconnected from society,” said Eileen O’Donnell, Executive Director of Coming Home. “Joining a photography club, it was hoped, would simply allow people who were homeless to belong to a social group and express themselves artistically while they looked for work and housing.”

Seven women from Catholic Charities’ family shelter in Edison readily took up the offer of club membership. Coming Home solicited, and received, the generous donations of six digital cameras each from Olympus America Inc. and FUJIFILM Holdings America Corp.

Ruth Cruz, of Coming Home, enlisted the technical assistance of Liset Clark and Susan Pizzaia of the Mason Gross School of the Arts Photography program.

The club members shot photos both on organized shoot trips and freely on their own time.  Ms. Clark and Ms. Pizzaia winnowed the numerous photos taken to 30, which were presented to the judging committee to choose the top three.

Volunteers from Catholic Charities and Coming Home and Greg Ritter, proprietor of George Street Camera and Framing Co. in New Brunswick, participated in the committee and Mr. Ritter generously agreed to frame the winner and 1st and 2nd runner up.  All 30 photos will be displayed at the Silent Auction, and the winning photo will be revealed and be part of the Silent Auction.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to order prints of any of the photos and those proceeds will go to the particular photographer.

For more information about the event, contact Meriam Shenoda at Coming Home at
732-296-7954 or mshenoda@cominghomemiddlesex.org.

For tickets to the event, mail in your payment cash or check made out to Coming Home of Middlesex County, Inc., together with your name and contact information to Meriam Shenoda, Coming Home of Middlesex County, Inc., 75 Bayard St., New Brunswick, NJ 08901.