NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - In the season of gift-giving, state legislators from Middlesex County announced that several non-profit agencies will receive hundreds of thousands in grants to help the homeless and people struggling to stay in homes.

State Sen. Patrick Diegnan, and Assembly members Nancy Pinkin and Robert Karabinchak, who represent the 18th District, announced that the Diocese of Metuchen branch of Catholic Charities will receive for two grants. The first one for $400,000 is from the Homelessness Prevention & Rapid Re-Housing 2 program, which provides assistance and stabilization services to individuals or families who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness in Middlesex County.

The second grant of $102,200 award from the Prevention of Homelessness - Another Chance program to provide temporary housing -up to 180 days - to offenders being released from NJ Department of Correction facilities that do not have an approved residence of record.

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Also, Garden State Home (GSH), which aides homeless youth in Central Jersey has been awarded a $165,150 grant from the Shelter Support program to provide funds for renovation work and the purchase of equipment, furnishings and a van, for a transitional housing facility in Highland Park.

A separate $80,197 grant from Shelter Support was awarded through the state Department of Community Affairs to was awarded to Women Aware, the agency started in 1981 that provides assistance to women and families escaping from cases of domestic violence.

The money will be used for renovation work and the purchase of equipment and furnishings for the emergency shelter for women and there children in Middlesex County.

"To win these grants is a true testament to the hard work of these volunteer groups and charities that provide shelter for the homeless," Karabinchak said. "Middlesex County is fortunate for the reliability and availability of these shelters that meet a critical need in our region," he said.