MORRISTOWN, NJ - In recent weeks, the COVID-19 virus has thrown difficult obstacles at every member of our society; these struggles are especially challenging for the homeless and working poor of Morris County.
On the snowy morning of March 23 rd , Morris County staff carefully came together with Homeless Solutions, Inc. (HSI) staff, and Morris Habitat for Humanity’s Restore to relocate homeless individuals in an effort to aid social distancing. The goal of this move was to provide a larger space to live at a time when personal space is paramount to physical health.
The impressive mobilization brought 29 residents of HSI’s Single Men’s Program and their Warming Center to a previously vacant location just across the parking lot at 560 West Hanover Avenue. Prior to this heroic and heartwarming effort many of these individuals were in dormitory style living, with many sleeping in bunk beds and several people in very close proximity. Thanks to the new building space from Morris County and gently used furniture from Morris Habitat’s Restore the shelter now is able to provide more space and the ability to adhere to the 6 feet rule. Some of the residents even have their own private room.
“It is important to help our county residents who are in need during this time of crisis,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Deborah Smith. “We heard the call for help from Homeless Solutions and are doing what we can to help their clients.’’
This additional space will not only help with the social distancing for the safety of the shelter guests but also help HSI staff as they work with a “house” under quarantine. There are almost 90 people living there all dealing with the trauma of homelessness. The staff at HSI are working hard as they navigate through this continually evolving situation. They no longer have access to their diaper and formula banks and are now responsible for providing lunches and dinners each day since their shelter guests are not leaving the property.
Dan McGuire, HSI CEO is inspired by his staff, “they’ve taken it to a whole new level in how they’ve stepped up to meet the challenges of COVID-19 on our programs and overall operations! Their response to the pandemic has been nothing short of heroic to me”.
Moments of crisis often bring out the best in people and organizations. That has certainly been on display with the timely and thoughtful response by the County of Morris and Morris Habitat for Humanity.
Blair Schleicher Bravo, Morris Habitat for Humanity CEO shared, “There is no greater time of need than right now, and we want to support our nonprofit partners like HSI who are on the front lines working with our most vulnerable citizens”.
To learn more about how you can help our homeless neighbors visit HSI’s COVID page at https://homelesssolutions.org
About Homeless Solutions, Inc. (HSI)
HSI is a private, nonprofit organization with 36 years of experience meeting the needs of those affected by homelessness in Morris County. With a philosophy of, “A Hand Up, Not a Handout,” HSI’s mission is to offer shelter, services, and supportive housing to homeless and low-income people. There are four Shelter Programs and a Transitional Housing Program to help guests develop the skills to successfully return to independent living. HSI also operates the Mt. Kemble Home for senior women of limited means, and develops and manages affordable housing throughout Morris County. For more information visit www.HomelessSolutions.org