Middlesex County News

Middlesex County Officials Say They Have Ended Homelessness in County

335615fb453f01cba9db_unnamed-2.jpg
HUD presents certification to (from left) Middlesex County Freeholders Charles Kenny, Ronald G. Rios, Blanquita B. Valenti and Charles E. Tomaro.
335615fb453f01cba9db_unnamed-2.jpg
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ  – Middlesex County has been certified by three federal agencies as having effectively ended veterans’ homelessness in Middlesex County.

Joined by Freeholder Blanquita B. Valenti and Maria Maio-Messano, New Jersey Field Office Director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD),  Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios today announced that Middlesex County has the infrastructure and systems in place to ensure that any veteran experiencing homelessness will get the support they need to quickly obtain a permanent home.

“Those of you who know me, know that helping our veterans is a passion of mine, and this achievement in particular is so very close to my heart,” Rios said. “This is the story of many hands and heads working together to achieve a common goal. I thank and commend our County staff and our community partners for sharing my passion and my vision for ending Veterans Homelessness. We did it. And we did it together.”

Sign Up for E-News

The county was certified as achieving “Functional Zero” (the technical term for effectively ending veterans’ homelessness) by HUD, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“Successful partnerships make all the difference when you are trying to serve those in need,” said Valenti, chair of the County’s Community Services Committee. “I, too, wish to thank everyone who had a part in getting this done.” 

In 2012 the Freeholder Board created a Veterans Housing Assistance Program (VHAP) in the County’s Office of Human Services to assist veterans and their families at risk of homelessness or experiencing homelessness. The Freeholders commit $100,000 each year to fund the program.

County staff works with the non-profit Coming Home of Middlesex County, two federally funded Supportive Services for Veteran  Families programs (Soldier On and Community Hope), and a network of veterans organizations and Community and faith-based partners. 

In addition to the county’s funds, the partners use voucher programs, including HUD VASH, which is administered through the VA. 

"The VA New York/New Jersey Health Care Network is elated that Middlesex County has been recognized for having effectively ended Veteran homelessness,” said Dr. Joan E. McInerney, Network Director for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) New York/New Jersey Veterans Integrated Service Network. “Middlesex County has demonstrated its commitment to meeting the needs of vulnerable Veterans, and VA is proud to be an integral part of the partnership network that will prevent Veterans from becoming homeless in the future."

So far, 300 veterans and their families have been assisted through this program. They have received funds to help with down payments and security deposits, rental assistance and other costs that had been obstacles to finding permanent homes.

In addition to the VHAP program, the Board passed a resolution in September of 2014 endorsing First Lady Michelle Obama’s Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness.   

“Residents of Middlesex County and across New Jersey whose communities stepped up to the Mayors Challenge have a lot to be proud of,” said Maria Maio-Messano, HUD New Jersey Field Office Director. “Thanks to strong local leadership, major resource investments from HUD and the VA, and the work of countless partners throughout government and the nonprofit sectors, Veterans homelessness in New Jersey is down 20% over the last year.”

“We applaud all the partners in Middlesex County who joined forces to prove once again that we don’t have to accept homelessness in America,” said Matthew Doherty, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. "When committed leaders work together to implement effective strategies, we can end homelessness in this country, not just for Veterans, but for everyone.”

Middlesex County embraces a Housing First philosophy in its efforts to end homelessness for veterans and other residents. That is to say, the County attempts to offer permanent housing in the first instance then add any social services that may be needed, rather than placing people in transitional housing with no support. 

County staff works with their partners to do a coordinated assessment of each veteran to see what programs and services they may need. 

“We look at the whole picture when helping a veteran,” Rios said. “In addition to housing, they may be unemployed or need training. We work with the Board of Social Services to see if they are eligible for any programs. Veterans receive first priority referral for job or training opportunities for which they are qualified at our One Stop Career Centers in New Brunswick and Perth Amboy.”

“It’s a team effort,” Rios added. “But when you think about what each of these men and women have done for each of us, you realize that helping them transition back home after serving our country is the least we can do.”

 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Piscataway

South Plainfield Students Planning to Walkout in Support of Safer Schools

February 23, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – In the wake of last week’s tragic school shooting in Florida, students from across the country – including right here in South Plainfield – are joining together for change.

On Feb. 16, the non-profit organization Women’s March launched a Youth EMPOWER movement calling for a national school walkout and publicizing the event on social ...

Obituaries

Christina C. Sweet (Diaz) 79 years, died Monday January 1, 2017 at Robert Wood Johnson University ...
Read more
- Nov 15, 2017
Phillip A. Petracca, also widely known as Filippo Neri in the Italian-American Radio and ...
Read more

New Brunswick and the Civil War:  The Brunswick Boys in the Great Rebellion

February 23, 2018

February 25

(Snow date 3/11)

New Brunswick and the Civil War:  The Brunswick Boys in the Great Rebellion

with local author Joanne H. Rajoppi

2:00PM – 4:00PM

TKTS: members $10, in advance $12, door $15

Limited seating - adv. registration sug.

Light refreshments included

Dutch Door Gift Shop ...

Early Cat in the Hat Visit to Piscataway Regional Day School

NJEA’s Cat In The Hat Visits PRDS

Students at the Piscataway Regional Day School (PRDS) were treated to an early visit from the New Jersey Education Association’s seven foot 'Cat in the Hat', in advance of Read Across America, the annual nationwide celebration of reading.

Wearing the traditional red and white stovepipe hat, the Cat in the Hat, (retired teacher, Marie ...

Trees Have Sex? Rutgers Researchers Have All the Answers

New Brunswick, NJ - A few years ago, Rutgers researcher Jennifer Blake-Mahmud was working on a botany project in Virginia when colleagues pointed out a striped maple, a common tree in the understory of mountain forests from Nova Scotia to Georgia. 

“They told me, ‘We think it switches sex from year to year, but we don’t know why,’ and I said, ‘No ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_93156380ef12939fa691_metlar_bodine_house_7-2-16_004

Sat, February 24, 2:00 PM

Metlar-Bodine House Museum, Piscataway

New Brunswick and the Civil War:  The Brunswick ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, February 24, 2:00 PM

Edison High School Auditorium, Edison

Free community viewing of "BAG IT" - Award ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Sat, February 24, 4:00 PM

American Legion, South Plainfield

Boy Scout Troop 207 Spaghetti Dinner

Food & Drink

Sun, February 25, 1:00 PM

St. David's Episcopal Church, Cranbury

Organizing for the 2018 Mid-terms: Elections, ...

Education Giving Back Government

Carousel_image_3d7e35618f05795eb00f_omstbydesignnew_jpeg

Tue, February 27, 7:00 PM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

“Olmsted By Design!” Free First-Person, Dramatic ...

Arts & Entertainment Green Home & Garden

Shouts of Racial Slurs Bring Police to Sparta Theatre

February 21, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta police were called to the New Vision Sparta Theater on Sunday night because of a woman shouting slurs in a screening of Black Panther.

Former New Jersey Assembly candidate Michael Grace was in the theater when two people started yelling racial slurs including “look at these ‘n-word’” and “can you believe these ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

Guest Column

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The ...

Let the Games Begin

I am truly awed by the Olympics.  Watching these superb young athletes on TV inspires me to renew my membership to the gym and pursue my lifelong dream of taking home the gold.  

 

The problem is that in my deluded head, I can see actually see myself standing atop the podium.  I am wrapped in a puffy designer ski coat with a huge piece of bling slung around my neck ...

The Best Way to Pay Your Child a Compliment

“Of course you’re good-looking.”  “You’re the best friend ever.”  “Who wouldn’t want you on their team?”  Is there a parent out there (including me) who hasn’t praised a child in order to make him or her feel better?  Sometimes it’s true, and sometimes we say it because we just can’t stand to see them ...

Height during childhood associated with increased stroke risk in adulthood

Researchers in Denmark studied the health records of more than 300,000 people born between 1930 and 1989 and found that those who were shorter than average height between ages 7 and 13 had a greater risk of stroke as adults. The results of this study were published in the February 15, 2018 issue of the journal Stroke.

Summary: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320922.php

Journal ...

Very Hot Tea Increases Cancer Risk

Researchers in China studying the consumption of “burning” hot tea, alcohol, and smoking habits of greater than 450,000 people ages 30 –79 for more than nine years found a five time greater risk of esophageal cancer in those who engaged in all three of the behaviors and a two time greater risk in those who either smoked or drank alcohol and consumed burning hot tea as compared ...