VIDEO: South Jersey Pledges to End Homelessness


CUMBERLAND COUNTY - Many non-profit leaders in South Jersey want to end homelessness in Cumberland County by the year 2020.
With colder temperatures arriving as well, it's more important now than ever. In an announcement, leaders from the M25 Initiative, Gateway Community Action Partnership, PRAC of Southern New Jersey, Complete-Care, Resources for Independent Living, and Revive South Jersey are joining together to sign a memorandum pledging that something must be done.
"Many times we are put upon because of the negative things that happen in our community, but this is a positive," said Albert Kelly, Mayor of Bridgeton. "And the people themselves are making it positive. They're not just talking about it, they're being about it."
The community leaders are certainly letting their actions speak louder than their words. Which is why they're creating the Cumberland County Housing First Collaborative, which would provide holistic and lasting solutions for the county's chronically homeless. The housing first program statistically saves taxpayers over $10,000 per client and per year.
Over the past three months Camden County has also been using the housing first initiative. They celebrated the first two placements.
The state, county, and local organizations involved decide where a homeless person is placed on a case by case basis. Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez wants to make sure the person helped is housed somewhere that will best suit their needs.
“We want to make sure they feel at home, that they feel supported, and that they feel comfortable," said Rodriguez. "You cannot focus on personal healing and recovery if you have to worry about surviving from one day to the next. What this program does is, it lets them not worry about that simple requirement of life. This way they can focus on recovering whatever it is that they need to recover from.”
The initiative is doing just that, getting those in need off the streets so they can better themselves.

SNJ Today is a Southern New Jersey news and information source based in Millville, New Jersey that is dedicated to providing current stories related specifically to South Jersey.