SUMMIT, NJ - Bridges Outreach, Inc. will host its fifth annual Teens Tackle Homelessness Conference on February 22, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., at Kent Place School.

This year’s conference will focus on “Homelessness as a Healthcare Crisis.”  Bridges created the conference to further educate its many teen volunteers and other interested high school students about causes and issues related to homelessness.  The conference experience is specifically designed for high school students, with a steering committee of 30 high school students from area schools. 

Ross Croessmann, who has 13 years of experience with the Mental Health Association of Essex County (MHAEC), will deliver the keynote address.  Croessmann is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the Director of MHAEC’s Supportive Living Services program.  He received his Masters of Social Work from Fordham University.  In 2011, Croessmann was appointed to the State of New Jersey Office of Adolescent Services Advisory Panel and is currently the Essex County Chairman for Residential Services. 

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Abdul Jalil, a HIV/AIDS prevention counselor at Integrity House, a therapeutic substance use treatment program in Newark, will give the end note presentation.  Jalil was born, raised, and received his formal education in Newark.  He attended and received an Associates degree from Essex Community College for Human and Social Services with a concentration in Addiction Services.  Jali received a Bachelors and a Masters degree from Rutgers University on both the Newark and New Brunswick campuses.  Both Croessmann and Jalil will each be accompanied by a client who was previously homeless.

In addition, participants will visit several booths to learn about a particular health issue and how it affects someone who is homeless.  The student steering committee has researched several healthcare concerns facing the homeless including nutrition, dental problems and chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure and will share this information with the participants.  After visiting the booths, the students will also have an opportunity to package a meal for someone who is homeless.

For more information, and to register online, visit  There is no fee for advance registration.  Kent Place School is located at 42 Norwood Avenue.