PATERSON, NJ - Volunteers from several organizations including St. Paul’s Community Development Corporation, New Jersey Development Corporation (NJCDC), and Eva’s Village are set to take to the streets on Wednesday, January 23, to count homeless residents across Passaic County.
The annual statewide effort, this year known as NJCounts 2019, is coordinated by Monarch Housing Associates, a Cranford based non-profit whose mission is to “expand the supply, accessibility and variety of affordable, permanent supportive housing through development, planning, advocacy and partnerships,” and “provides a statewide snapshot of households experiencing homelessness in our communities; where they find shelter, what their needs are, and what factors contribute to making them homeless.
"The data we collect yearly isn't just a head count. We survey individuals to see how long they have been homeless, if they have any disabilities, health problems and their veteran status,” Freeholder Sandi Lazzara said after the 2017 count which showed that 449 residents across the county met the definition of homeless. “This helps us identify the specific needs of these people and allows us to address the direct causes of homeless people in Passaic County."
Individuals interested in volunteering to assist in the count are required to register and participate in a training session either in person or online. In-person training sessions will be held on Tuesday at the NJCDC Youth Center, 52 Front Street beginning at 10:00 a.m., and on Thursday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 451 Van Houten Street, beginning at 5:30. Training session are 90 minutes long.
Saying that it’s important to clearly understand an issue to make an impact on it, NJCDC's CEO Bob Guarasci said previously that they are proud to participate in the count and to use the information gathered to direct programming and initiative such as those to “build and operate housing with onsite social services for individuals with special needs, including those who are homeless,” and “help (their) residents speak up for their rights.”
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