Cumberland County Housing First Collaborative Holds Full-Day Retreat to Discuss Homeless Services

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VINELAND, N.J. -

On Thursday, June 7th, he M25 Initiative’s Cumberland County Housing First Collaborative met for a full-day retreat at the Cumberland County College Luciano Center to discuss agency programs, the Collaborative’s progress, and ways to continue the efforts to end homelessness in Cumberland County by 2020.

The Cumberland County Housing First Collaborative is a unique consortium of social service organizations, faith-based institutions, and government officials committed to tackling the problem of chronic homelessness in Cumberland County.  

The guiding agency of this collaborative is the M25 Initiative, a nonprofit organization based in Bridgeton, which also facilitates the grassroots Cumberland County Code Blue Coalition. The other partners of the collaborative include Gateway Community Action Partnership, PRAC of New Jersey, Resources for Independent Living, Volunteers of America Delaware Valley, Cumberland County Jail, Inspira Health Network, and CompleteCare Health Network.

In addition to the Collaborative Partners, representatives from the following agencies also participated in the full day retreat: Cumberland County Division of Social Services, Cumberland County Division of Human Services, Cumberland County Family Shelter, Vineland Department of Health, and Robin’s Nest.

The full-day retreat focused on examining the programs of agencies and identifying opportunities for improvement and collaborations.

The Collaborative has worked to place over 45 chronically homeless individuals in housing in one year’s time, exceeding their goal of 42. The Collaborative expects to house over 60 homeless men, women, and families, by the end of the year.

“While we are working hard to house up to 60 people by the end of this year, we are working cooperatively as a collaborative to house even more through efforts of volunteers and other community-based programs,” said Dr. Robin Weinstein, President of the M25 Initiative and Convener of the Housing First Collaborative. “We are seeing a butterfly effect of positive change in our community as individuals and churches are becoming empowered to be the miracle in their neighborhoods, while our governmental and nonprofit agencies are working together in a very focused and collaborative manner in addressing homelessness. I believe that together we will achieve the goal of ending chronic homelessness in Cumberland County by 2020.”

Weinstein notes that volunteers in the Code Blue program have taken it upon themselves to house 14 individuals and send 10 more to recovery programs. These figures are in addition to the work of the Collaborative.

“The Code Blue Program and Housing First Collaborative continues to demonstrate that while we are the poorest county in the state financially, we are rich in generosity and spirit. Love always wins,” concluded Weinstein.

Weinstein stated that soon the M25 Initiative will be releasing a promising report that shows that the Housing First Program is not only housing the homeless but saving the community money.

The M25 Initiative is the designated fundraising arm for the Cumberland County Code Blue Coalition and the Cumberland County Housing First Collaborative. The M25 Initiative is a 501c3 non-profit in Cumberland County, NJ created for the sole purpose of engaging, equipping, empowering, and mobilizing individuals and organizations to employ innovative and cooperative solutions to alleviate suffering, feed the hungry, end poverty, reduce crime, revitalize a spirit community and transform lives!

For more information, visit: m25initiative.org or call 1-844-M25-HOPE.

 

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