Hackensack, NJ Community Message Boards

General Category => Hackensack Discussion => Topic started by: Editor on March 16, 2004, 11:22:42 PM

Title: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on March 16, 2004, 11:22:42 PM
An article recently appeared in The Record about the City's "homeless" and Bergen CAP's plan to expand services for the "homeless" in Hackensack.

Click here to read the article: Services for the homeless are in a political minefield (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyOTMmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTY0OTk5NzImeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk5) (Requires free registration with The Record)

The above-poll seeks your opinion with respect to Hackensack's responsibility for the "homeless" situation.  Please participate.  You must register with an email address.  Click "Register" at the top of this page. It's easy.

Thank you.

Or Click Here to Register (http://www.hackensacknow.com/forums/index.php?board=1;action=register)
Note:  Polls are anonymous.  Registration is required to enforce 1 vote per person.
Title: Re:Record Article: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on March 28, 2004, 03:43:42 PM
[The following opinion appeared in The Record, March 28, 2004]:

Regarding, "Hackensack shelter cost criticized" (Page L-1, March 23):

I agree with Bergen County Freeholder Lou Tedesco and Hackensack Mayor Jack Zisa. We are being taxed to death.

Building a $3 million structure can tempt politicians to put the money into pockets of those with "special interests" in the project. That possibility is no secret any time a municipality of the county "builds" something. And when they talk about bonding, the average person does not consider that you eventually have to pay back the bonds down the road.

It's about time someone is thinking of the taxpayer.

Marjorie Montagna

Saddle Brook, March 23
Title: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on April 03, 2004, 11:06:45 PM
An interesting post turned up on the old message boards related to the topic of "homelessness".  The message is from Aaron Mighty, producer of documentary, in response to a post from "Sam the Answer Man". 

Sam wrote:

We’ve all heard the old theory that the homeless are lazy people who just don’t want to work, and are actually happy being homeless. That theory has gained new credibility...,'

To read full topic thread, click here: Happy Homeless of Hackensack (http://www.dream-tool.net/tools/messageview.mv?view+hackensackspeaks+339+index) (post no new messages on old board)

Aaron responded:
Hi all,

As the producer of “One Happy Movie” (http://www.onehappymovie.com/) (the documentary in question here) I just wanted to comment on the homeless man depicted in The Record’s article by Jim Beckerman (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2MzgmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTY0Nzg5OTImeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk5) in case anyone might come across this post.

The man’s name was Dee Dee, and he was not sponging off of the welfare system or any other government funded/tax aided program. He actually received a check monthly from Social Security, which he had rightfully earned for working as a lawyer for some thirty years. He was also a veteran, as were a number of other homeless we interviewed.

He was homeless for one reason only. That was so he could experience freedom as he felt it was meant to be. That made him happy! If you were to see this gentleman, who was so articulate, educated and well mannered, I think we would all change our opinions on the homeless.

You can see a clip of his interview from the film here:
www.onehappymovie.com/movieclips.htm (http://www.onehappymovie.com/movieclips.htm)

I hope we can all spread a little happiness as he has to so many.

Best wishes,
Aaron Mighty (amighty@onehappymovie.com)
One Happy Movie

To learn more about the documentary please visit: www.onehappymovie.com (http://www.onehappymovie.com)

Title: Re:Record Article: Services for the homeless...
Post by: devil07601 on April 05, 2004, 11:13:15 PM
How come on one but eric Martindale is willing to say how much of a problem the homeless situation is?

Almost no one appeared to oppose the Orchard Street Application. That is wrong.

this is the biggest obstacle to revitilization of Main Street.
Title: Re:Record Article: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Kath1948 on April 11, 2004, 03:55:54 AM
I think Eric Martindale hit the nail right on the head! He made it quite clear that "the homeless" are not just one mass of people, but very unique people with a variety of reasons that they are homeless. There is no one simple solution to the problem, but I think Hackensack should not condemn the homeless, but try to alleviate the problem and be more compassionate about the whole thing. I also believe that Hackensack alone should not have to bear the whole burden. Since it is the county seat, all Bergen county towns should bear some of the responsibility.
Title: Re:Record Article: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on May 18, 2004, 01:34:22 AM
Mr. Martindale asked me to post the following excerpt from Parade Magazine's "Ask Marilyn" segment.  A writer asks:

What's worse: neglecting responsibilities or avoiding them?  I am irresponsible.  However, I'm also homeless, broke and unemployed.  Thus, I have no rent to be late with, no money to owe taxes on and no boss to call in sick to.  I am happy as a hog in mud. - U.J. Lewis, Forth Worth Tex.

Marilyn responds:

Maybe we need a new word for you, U.J.  How about unresponsible?  It is more accurate and less derogatory.  Anyway, given your lifestyle, it's better for everyone if you don't take on duties that you are unwilling to perform or obligations that you cannot discharge.  I'm glad that you're happy, but I suggest that you work to put something away for a rainy day.  And in your case, I mean that literally.
Title: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on February 10, 2005, 12:19:31 PM
"Bergen County could have a new homeless shelter by the end of 2006, county officials said Wednesday.

The proposed two-story L-shaped shelter at River and East Kansas streets in Hackensack would house as many as 100 people, cost nearly $5.8 million and lead to the closure of a shelter on Orchard Street in the city."

Read full story:  Bergen shifts into high gear on plans for homeless shelter (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2NjUyMDY0)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on February 16, 2005, 10:52:47 PM
The Freeholders passed a resolution tonight authorizing the expenditure of $400k for an architectural firm to review/design plans for the homeless shelter on Kansas Street. 

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on June 24, 2005, 10:41:17 AM
Latest story: County to build $6.2M homeless shelter (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2NzEyMTky)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on July 06, 2005, 09:53:56 AM
This opinion appeared in the July 6 edition of The Record:

Kudos to the Bergen County government for recognizing that there is a homeless problem in the county and for its apparent successful negotiations with Hackensack for a new, multiservice shelter ("County to build $6.2M homeless shelter," Page L-1, June 24).

However, I take exception to homeless advocate Robin Reilly's remarks regarding putting the burden on Hackensack while "those [northern Bergen] towns" do nothing.

Hackensack is, after all, the county seat. Although many county service facilities are located in Paramus, it makes good sense that services be centrally located for equal access by all county residents. Would Reilly propose that a shelter for the homeless be located in Upper Saddle River, a town that is nearly inaccessible, if at all, via mass transportation?

Deborah Greene

Fort Lee, June 2

My response:  Sure, Hackensack is the County Seat.  Yes, it does make sense to have some county facilities here.  Does this mean that Hackensack residents should carry a disproportionate property tax burden?  Absolutely not. 

The County should provide rebates for Hackensack property tax payers (and Paramus for that matter). There is no reason why Saddle River, Mahwah, Ridgewood and other affluent Bergen communities should benefit from a lack of County facilities in their neighborhoods.  These communities should help carry the financial burden in a way that is fair and equitable.  After all, these wealthier towns are in a position to do so.  Why should Hackensack (mostly middle class) be penalized for seating the County?

Albert Dib
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on July 12, 2005, 01:46:27 PM
The Bergen County Freeholders will vote on a measure to purchase the S. Goldberg property on River Street on Wednesday night, July 13, 2005, 8:00 p.m.  The Freeholders plan on constructing a new County Police and Public Works facility on this site.

In addition, the Freeholders are expected to pass a bond ordinance that will fund the construction of a proposed 100-room homeless shelter on East Kansas Street.

In the July 6, 2005 edition of "The Chronicle", Freeholder Tomas Padilla advocates an alternate location for the shelter, police and public works facilities, - namely, the J. Fletcher Creamer property on E. Broadway, about ¼ mile away from the proposed site.   

The Hackensack Business Community and several other city officials agree with Freeholder Padilla's position.  Moving these facilities away from River Street, East Kansas Street and Main Street will allow for better, higher tax-ratable projects to be built on these prime locations.  In addition, Main Street’s economic redevelopment will be less hampered by the inevitable increase in homeless activity the new shelter will generate.

The Main Street Special Improvement District (SID) is charged with the daunting task of revitalizing a sizable portion of Main Street.  Towards that end, the SID has made significant strides.  The group is focused, energized and committed to its task.  However, placement of the homeless shelter on the East Kansas Street location poses a serious obstacle to Main Street's growth. 

The Bergen County Jail, Parole Office, Probation Office and other county facilities present enough challenges for the City’s economic revitalization. The City and its business leaders understand the need for the homeless shelter.  Likewise, County leadership should understand the need for Hackensack’s economic development.  The Freeholders should thoroughly evaluate whether or not the Fletcher Creamer property is a viable alternative.  This arrangement could be a win/win for all parties involved. 

Residents are urged to attend the Freeholder meeting Wednesday night and voice support for Freeholder Padilla’s initiative to relocate the proposed county facilities.   The meeting takes place at the County Executive Building, at Essex and Hudson Streets. Click here for Directions (http://www.co.bergen.nj.us/help/directions.html).

Note: Freeholder Padilla, The City of Hackensack and Main Street Special Improvement District did not contribute to this article.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on July 14, 2005, 12:07:34 AM
Update:  The Freeholders passed the bond ordinance to purchase the Goldberg site.  The Freeholders also passed Freeholder Padilla's resolution to get the Fletcher Creamer property appraised. 

While the Freeholders indicated that it was probably too late to move the site of Kansas Street Shelter, Freeholder Padilla still holds out some hope.

At the least, it appears that, if the Creamer property becomes available, serious thought will be given to consolidating other County properties to that location, like the Probation office currently on River Street.

More to come.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on July 15, 2005, 10:22:04 AM
Latest stories:

New shelter, police HQ approved (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2NzIzMzM0)

Some relief for county's homeless (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk5JmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2NzIzMjg3)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on July 19, 2005, 07:22:14 PM
Latest story:  Hope for hard-core homeless (http://www.bergen.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk4NSZmZ2JlbDdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5NjcyMzgzNiZ5cmlyeTdmNzE3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTE1)

To his credit, Tom Davis, the author of the above article, has always been an advocate of the homeless and those suffering from mental illness.

I'm annoyed that Mr. Davis made no mention about why the City of Hackensack did not put its full support behind the shelter.  He knows.

The City is often criticized for an economically depressed downtown.  While this problem is being addressed by the City and the Main Street Alliance, the new shelter will undoubtedly make this task harder.  As Mr. Davis points out, it appears the homeless numbers are growing.

In addition, the properties associated with providing care for the homeless are non-taxable.  As a result, city property owners are forced to pick up the slack in the form of higher taxes.  This exacerbates real economic growth.   

I wonder if The Record will ever do a serious piece about the lack of concern and assistance from other Bergen municipalities in fairly addressing this County "crisis".  County officials should re-distribute the burden.  Again I ask, why is Hackensack shouldering this responsibility by itself?

Albert Dib

Title: Peter's Place/County Homeless
Post by: Editor on August 05, 2005, 10:01:21 AM
Latest stories:

Peter's Place might expand  (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2NzM5MjA1)

Plans drawn for new homeless shelter (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2NzM5MTYz)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on August 17, 2005, 11:33:09 AM
Latest story: Hackensack, merchants oppose homeless plan (http://www.bergen.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2NzQ4NTE1)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on August 19, 2005, 09:20:52 AM
The following opinion appeared in the August 19, 2005 edition of The Record:

Regarding "Hackensack, merchants oppose homeless plan" (Page L-1, Aug. 17):

I am ashamed to say that I live in Bergen County. But at least I do not live in Hackensack.

Suddenly, when the city's mayor and council find out that the Social Security building is scheduled to be acquired by Christ Church Community Development Corp., they want to buy it themselves.

Christ Church CDC, a non-profit organization, works in cramped quarters in the church hall on State Street and would like to expand and grow. It provides outreach services for the underserved in Bergen, not just Hackensack citizens.

The mayor, City Council and merchants are not really concerned about providing social services. They are worried about the homeless walking through business and residential areas to go from one facility to another. There is an assumption that they would drive out business from an area that is not very inviting to shoppers to begin with.

Hackensack, like Paterson, is a county seat; they both have courthouses and federal and county offices. Paterson provides social services and homeless shelters. What better place than Hackensack to serve Bergen's poor and disenfranchised?

But maybe I am getting too upset about this and need to relax. There may be other ways to rid the city of the unsightly homeless. Might I suggest a variation of Jonathan Swift's remedy for dealing with the Irish poor in "A Modest Proposal"? I would be willing to provide anyone interested a copy of the essay.

Catherine Hughes

Dumont, Aug. 17

My Response:

Cathy, if you are so "ashamed to say you live in Bergen County" because of the homeless situation, why don't you convince your mayor and council to move the homeless shelter to Dumont? 

You say the business community should not oppose increased homeless activity because "the area is not very inviting to shoppers to begin with".  Your argument is circular.  The area became depressed as a result of two main factors: The rise of the malls (which Hackensack can overcome) and the expansion of social services to accommodate who you call the "underserved". The area is not inviting largely because of the "homeless" (a term that is ill-equipped to define the problem).

Your comparison of Hackensack's Council to 18th Century British government is witty but shows your complete failure to understand the real dilemma.  God forbid Hackensack's elected officials try to reverse the decade's old trend of dumping unwanted social programs in Hackensack.  Enough already. 1/3 of all property in Hackensack is non-taxable!

But maybe I am getting too upset about this and need to relax. Maybe Hackensack's City Council should call every municipality in Bergen County and offer up Main Street, Essex Street and Hudson Street for more social services.  Sure.  Since this is the County Seat (and who needs business in a County Seat) let's tear down lower Main Street and build the world's tallest skyscraper for the homeless.  We can call it "Peter's Palace". 

On second thought, maybe we should just put the homeless shelter in Dumont. 
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: ericmartindale on August 19, 2005, 06:02:20 PM
Ms. Hughes has outraged and insulted the city of Hackensack in her letter advocating homeless services published on 8/19/05 in the Record Rag. She identifies herself as a member of the Christ Episcopal Church on State Street in Hackensack.

It’s long been said by the advocates for increasing social services in Hackensack that we had a homeless problem long before any shelter opened here. Before the first shelter opened in 1985, Hackensack, Englewood, Lodi, and Garfield each had literally a handful of homeless, and there was one in Paramus (living in the woods off Farview Ave), and another in Rutherford. So, in a very limited sense it is true that there were homeless here before any shelter opened. Then Christ Church, with the assistance of publicity from The Record, selected one of these towns, Hackensack, and began advocating a shelter. People from one end of Hackensack to the other laughed with ridicule that a dozen bed shelter was opening. “Hahaha, they’ll never fill it, how can they possibly expect there to be 12 homeless in Hackensack on a single night”, was the feeling all across Hackensack. Well, now there’s over 200 homeless drawn here by all the social services.

And it’s the constituents of Peter’s Place, run by Christ Episcopal, that are the most unwanted of all. These are the people who are so mentally ill or intoxicated that they are kicked out of the county shelters onto the street. I cannot even fathom how a woman from Dumont can expect another community to allow these people to roam the streets. It’s simply beyond comprehension that any rational person could come to this conclusion.

Nor can I fathom her comparison of Hackensack to Paterson. By the way, the best neighborhood in Hackensack makes anything in Dumont look like a slum by comparison.  She says she’s happy not to live in Hackensack. Well, I’m happy she can’t vote in our elections or voice her concerns to our city council as a resident of Hackensack. I dread the thought that members of her church might buy condo units at the new Paragon building almost next door to the church.

I didn’t see Ms. Hughes, of Dumont, agonizing that Dumont has done nothing to serve the homeless. Not Paramus either, with all its wealth and shopping mall ratables. Nor does she advocate increasing social services at Bergen Regional Medical Center, where the mentally ill and substance abusers can have the high-quality care they deserve. Nope, instead she wants them roaming the streets of Hackensack, as if they have the civil rights to walk the streets. She thinks the answer is for them to terrorize the streets of downtown Hackensack, and pop in and out of homeless for band-aid services that amount to a fraction of what could take place at Bergen Regional.

We, the citizens of Hackensack, have been hoodwinked. What’s happening is a decades-long continuing trend to abandon county-funded social services at the County hospital and reinvent all the social services in the downtown of Hackensack.  Remember Ronald Reagan’s 1000 points of light? That was the start of it, the sugar-coating of the transition from government care to private care of those in need. That way the taxpayers don’t pay for it, and instead donations from people like Ms. Hughes pay for it. I happen to think it’s the responsibility of government, not the private sector, to fund the solution. 

Services for homeless that are temporarily homeless due to financial issues or spousal abuse can be provided in Hackensack with no burden to the city or the business community. But services for the mentally-ill, alcoholic, and drug-addict homeless of the Peter’s Place crowd belong at the County Hospital. They don’t belong on the streets of Hackensack, Dumont, Paramus, or any other town.

The County Hospital was founded specifically to rid the streets and local communities of indigent people. I’m told that interests in Hackensack, specifically the Woman’s Club, that were the driving force behind the creation of Bergen Pines, the predecessor of Bergen Regional. It was specifically to get homeless who had tuberculosis and other conditions off the streets, and to provide them REAL care.  Thank you, Ronald Reagan, we’re living with your legacy now in the City of Hackensack.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: hamburglar on August 20, 2005, 02:01:41 AM
I don't really have much to add to the Editor and Eric who addressed the letter from Ms. Hughes. I just want to thank them for pointing out how ridiculous her position is in advocating the placement of all social services in our city because we somehow have an obligation to "serve Bergen's poor and disenfranchised".  She's ashamed to live in Bergen County and glad she doesn't live in Hackensack but is okay with living in Dumont where their Mayor recently resigned in disgrace as part of an agreement to avoid criminal prosecution. And then she takes a shot at our Mayor and Council for trying to protect our quality of life and our merchants for trying to protect their livelihoods. What is this woman smoking? Earth to Ms. Hughes...come in, please. Last time I checked, there were 70 municipalities in Bergen County. Pick one or two and I'll be happy to have my tax dollars spent on placing homeless shelters there to help serve the COUNTY'S homeless population. 
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: average Joe on August 20, 2005, 06:26:03 PM
"Give us your psychotic...your unwashed...your drunkards...your certifiables...your most dangerous...and ,please,make sure they walk our streets and sleep in our parks...for we are Hackensack...repository of the collective conscience of Bergen County..."
(new City motto-to be on statue on City Green of large middle finger)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: hamburglar on August 21, 2005, 09:11:47 AM
I disagree with Average Joe. I draw the line at the unwashed.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on September 09, 2005, 05:16:47 PM
The County of Bergen will make a presentation regarding the proposed homeless shelter to be erected on Kansas Street at the Wednesday, September 14, 2005 Planning Board Meeting. Click here for docket (http://www.hackensack.org/filestorage/133/PlanningBoardDocket_091405.doc).

Residents might what to attend to voice their opinion with respect to the proposed shelter. 
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: ericmartindale on September 25, 2005, 07:05:46 PM
Residents should know that our mayor, Marlin Townes, has been regularly attending Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholder meetings hoping to secure the cooperation of the County in developing a new homeless shelter that would have less of a negative impact upon the community.

Unlike Mayor Zisa, who battled with the County on multiple fronts, Mayor Townes has taken the cooperative approach, and is hoping to appeal to establish a working relationship. County officials initially were unresponsive to his professional and sincere verbal appeal at the September 7th Freeholder meeting. There was informal discussions after the meeting, and talk of an “official” meeting to be held between Townes and County officials. It is unknown if this has occurred within the last week, as of 9/19 it had not occurred.

Freeholder Tomas Padilla has been working with the city administration on this issue. The goal is to redevelop the current site of the homeless shelter (River & E. Kansas) for something nice that pays taxes, and build the new larger shelter that the County wants at the end of East Broadway, totally out of site.  It will have less of an impact on the community at that location.

There has been informal talk of trying to organize a rally of residents to the Freeholder chambers to persuade the County to move in this direction, similar to the way Paramus residents rallied against the juvenile detention center.  Hardly anyone has shown up.

Meanwhile, homeless ADVOCATES from Hackensack, including Richard Rankin and a member of Christ Episcopal Church, have been speaking to have even more homeless facilities opened in Hackensack. The expanded Kansas Street shelter was supposed to be a one-stop comprehensive facility, but homeless advocates are already plotting to open a second privately-run shelter on Sussex Street. The Peter’s Place people want the Social Security Building for one dollar ($), pursuant to a federal edict that gives homeless services first choice for any federal facility to be abandoned. (I can’t imagine why they feel they no longer need a Social Security office to serve New Jersey’s largest county). Peter’s Place is the worst of all the shelters, since it caters specifically to the homeless that are so unruly, obnoxious, disgusting, and uncivilized that they are kicked out of the County-run shelter.

The people who run Peter’s Place consider their clients to have the “civil rights” to be homeless and wander the streets with all levels of addiction, alcoholism, and mental illness. I’ve actually heard one of them say that one of the homeless might be the second coming of Jesus… that when Jesus comes again, he will come in a humble way from amongst the masses of people… so how can we turn Jesus away.  But somehow I don’t think Jesus will come again as a mentally ill alcoholic homeless man. Well, sometimes I've been wrong before, but not this time.

Back in the day, I had no trouble rallying 100, 200, and even 300 people to public meetings. Unfortunately, activism isn’t a strong talent among our new council.  They can be described as professional people who want to work within the system.  This time however, the “system” on the county level is out to screw Hackensack, and somehow the city needs to rally for the common good. Unsure who will step forwards to make that happen. Any suggestions?
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: itsme on September 27, 2005, 09:55:57 PM
I have mixed feelings about how to deal with the homeless situation in Hackensack however, I think the Broadway location is not a good place if your argument is that some of these people are ill and in need of psychiatric treatment.  The M & M Building is just across the street.  Would you want persons in need of psychiatric help near your children?
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: ericmartindale on September 28, 2005, 04:50:17 PM
The city council and Freeholder Tomas Padilla are NOT proposing to move the homeless shelter to anywhere near the M & M building, which is on Broadway.  They want to put it on East Broadway, EAST of River street. This site selected is next to the entrance of the city DPW. Do you know where that is.  This is not part of the "community" that we know as the Hudson Street area or the First Ward. It's a remote industrial area, near nobody's home, and almost half a mile from the M&M building.

The current location (E. Kansas Street and River Street) is very close to the neighborhoods of the First Ward.

Now that I've informed you of where the shelter will be relocated, please respond with a post. Do you concur that the relocation site would have less impact on the residential community? Thank you.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: itsme on September 29, 2005, 09:51:36 PM
The proposed relocation site would have less impact on the residential community and would be safer for our children.  However, is the location near the DPW environmentally safe for the homeless to live?  Would it need to be cleaned up first?  If so, would it be the responsibility of the City or County?
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: ericmartindale on September 29, 2005, 10:01:42 PM
Good question, and your not the first to raise it.

All that area used to be swamplands, and is landfilled. Who knows what is in the landfill, could be dirt, could be concrete rubble, and it could be contaminated, your guess is as good as mine.

However, I don't see proximity to the DPW to be an environmental issue. In fact, the land the DPW is on used to be contaminated by the former land use but the land was cleaned up when the DPW and Costco (Price Club) was built in 1993 or so. 

This is a County project, so if there is any soil remediation required, they will foot the bill.  The issue has already been raised, and my understanding is that soil tests have been taken or will be taken.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on October 08, 2005, 11:32:23 PM
"The Peter’s Place people want the Social Security Building for one dollar ($), pursuant to a federal edict that gives homeless services first choice for any federal facility to be abandoned. (I can’t imagine why they feel they no longer need a Social Security office to serve New Jersey’s largest county). Peter’s Place is the worst of all the shelters, since it caters specifically to the homeless that are so unruly, obnoxious, disgusting, and uncivilized that they are kicked out of the County-run shelter. "

I would beg to differ with the opinion above.    I am working one-on-one with the homeless in Hackensack and have reunited a Peter's Place client with his family, paid for his ticket and sent him home to Virginia.   He had been homeless for 6 years.   No one bothered to ask where this sweet 36-year-old man was from and how did he get here.   Due to his developmental disabilities, he did not know.   

Another one - a terrible alcoholic who ended up hospitalized, and who was voted on the street to be the next likely to die of his substance abuse, has been rehabilitated and is in structured housing and doing well.   The neglect at all stages of his childhood, including being given alcohol by his parents as a prepubescent boy, all contributed to his current situation.   His counselling at one shelter amounted to three 15-minute sessions with three different counselors.   He was told there was nothing wrong with him.   He was banned from other shelters because of a gait imbalance due to a trauma which makes him look drunk when he's not.   He's doing fine.   He needed some personal attention.

One doesn't need to be unruly, obnoxious or disgusting to be kicked out of the private nonprofit shelters known as Bergen County CAP.   

People should also be asking just how many more people are going to be served by this new shelter.   There are currently 38 beds.   Will Orchard Street close, as rumor has it?   There were no beds there, but chairs to sleep in, at tables, perhaps 65 in all.   The original plans for the new shelter said of the 100 beds, 25 emergency beds will be kept available, so really 75 ongoing beds will be available.    Is it worth the money being spent to gain only about 37 beds?

Will there be more showers available?  CAP has a couple and they are not available all day long.   

The family shelter is not going to be reopened at 40 Passaic.   Those families have struggled to find placement elsewhere.   What about new poor families? 

What needs to be addressed are root causes of homelessness - the new kids coming out of good homes with no life skills at all, emotionally arrested at young ages, the abused foster kids, the adults turned onto chemical substances at early ages.   All of the people I have worked with, on the surface, look obnoxius and dangerous, but really are just neglected kids underneath.   Perhaps a homeless mentoring program is an idea.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on October 10, 2005, 10:47:08 AM
To "Hope":

I appreciate the work you do.  It must be very fulfulling to literally save someone's life.  I mean that sincerely.   But I wonder if the two success stories you raise are the exception rather than the rule.  Aren't there also stories about the "hardcore homeless" and dangerous criminal activity?

I like the idea of a mentoring program, but I'm not sure what you envision. Could you elaborate?

I agree that shelters are not the long term solutions that are needed.  The real solutions address the root problems (mental, socio-economic, abuse, etc.) early in a child's life.  How/where/when do we tackle these issues.  Perhaps the schools are the first line of defense.

I don't think anyone disputes the need to provide care to the "homeless".  The debate has more to do with location and the type of programs that are run. 

Why put these centers so close to the business community?  Why can't we give Main Street a chance to flourish?  Why does care for the indigent community have to come at the expense of the business community?  Why is it so difficult for the County, CAP, Peter's Place, the City and the Business Community to come up with "win/win" scenarios? 

Also, - where are the numbers?  How many "homeless" in Hackensack?  Is this a definite number?  How do these numbers fit within Martindale's breakdown of "types of Homeless" (see first page of this thread, 4th post). What is the general trend in statistics?  A recent story by Tom Davis (http://www.bergen.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk4NSZmZ2JlbDdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5NjcyMzgzNiZ5cmlyeTdmNzE3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTE1) of the Record indicated that homeless numbers are growing.  Is this true?  I hear that Peter's Place does not keep records of who it helps and what problems were addressed per patient.  What are CAP's numbers?  This lack of information contibutes to an overall lack of cooperation.  How can the parties be expected to address a problem they can't define? 

As for the Social Security building, I last heard that they are seeking an alternate location in Hackensack.  If they can't find one, they'll stay where they are.  Regardless of 22 Sussex,  I think there should still be greater dialogue among these organizations.  Nobody's moving out, so cooperation is key.

Finally, I reiterate my point raised in earlier posts in this thread.  HOW ARE OTHER BERGEN COUNTY MUNICIPALITIES CONTRIBUTING TO RESOLVING THIS COUNTY PROBLEM? 
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on October 10, 2005, 10:24:06 PM
I wonder if the two success stories you raise are the exception rather than the rule.  Aren't there also stories about the "hardcore homeless" and dangerous criminal activity? 

 These two people were considered “hardcore homeless” both on the street and in the county shelters\ Peter’s Place.   The dangerous criminal activity can more often be attributed to the parasites that come into town the first week of the month to prey on the homeless who are at the check cashing places cashing disability checks.   There are few hardcore, dangerous homeless people in Hackensack, in my opinion.   I know most of them by name at this point, have driven some of the “scariest” ones up to CAP when the van has been filled, and have even driven around listening to tunes with some of them.

I like the idea of a mentoring program, but I'm not sure what you envision. Could you elaborate?   

Even the working poor, once they become homeless, slip into a survival state in which they start to settle for conditions they would never have dreamed of, for instance, having to defecate behind a building, then not having a place to wash up, wearing clothes until they are filthy because there is no place to store clean ones, wearing donated clothes that do not fit, and then being treated everywhere as less than human.   The unemployed, addicted and\or mentally ill homeless reach the lowest level of living conditions, expect no better, but remember a kind word. 

A mentor could do a number of things.    It would be easy enough to meet any number of homeless people on a regular basis on their turf – several are in the library, several are outside FAITH Foundation on State Street and Kansas Street Shelter, many are in Anderson Park and a lot are outside Labor Ready on Anderson.   Quite simply, they first need to be spoken to as human beings.   They need food.   There really are no special skills needed to befriend a homeless person.   As with any kind of mentoring, you get to know a person, find out their life story, why they are not getting help, how they ended up in their situation.  It’s the personal attention that heals a lot of stuff.  You take it from there.  I’ve had “normal” conversations with mentally ill who talk to themselves.   They remember me because I was nice to them.   (I also have about 35 body guards in Hackensack.)

I suggested an outreach type of program in Anderson Park to IRF [Interreligious Fellowship Foundation (http://www.irfhomeless.org/)] and got no response at all.    A new organization started bringing lunch to Anderson on Saturdays and one of the churches across the street got pissed off, called the town and had them kicked out.   It’s not a competition but that seems to be the mentality among the social service organizations.

I will try to find the numbers from the homeless census done earlier this year.   It was a very cold day and most utilized shelters so it was easy to count.   It was around 300 as I recall, for Hackensack.   IRF says there are 5000 homeless in Bergen County.

More to follow.....
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on October 16, 2005, 07:33:22 PM
I generally agree with Mr. Martindale's breakdown of homeless types.   What is missing is an in-between, probably even a common thread, and that is arrested development.   This arrested development is probably not found in his first category.

Among Hackensack's "worst" homeless, there are several folks who were abused in orphanages in Paterson.   They could form their own category.   They're all in their 50s, are terrible alcoholics, have no life skills, no sense of self-worth, no interest in life, very low IQ, but they are real survivors.  There are many with the same traits who were just plain neglected, born addicted, fetal alcohol babies, full-blown alcoholics by age 5, and aged-out foster care kids who were abused and released.   They are not mentally ill, they're just kids in adult bodies with adult problems.  Their checks buy alcohol and hotel rooms on Rt 46 when the weather is bad. 

The people in this category come from all over the county, even all over the country.  They don't fit in, they're not mentally ill, not dangerous, just drunk and pretty much unable to find work, anywhere.   I don't know what the solution is for this type of person.   

There are only a handful of people that I know, all of whom are alcoholics, who screw up opportunities to get help.   They don't show up for job interviews, benefit interviews, etc.   They are perfectly capable of working if they are not drunk.   Again, no signs of overt mental illness, but no one drinks to the point of ruining their livelihood, I would think.   

I'm watching to see what happens in Midland Park, where a classmate of mine has been found living behind stores.   Other towns reportedly have dropped off their homeless in Hackensack, in the  middle of the night, near services.   There was lots of alcohol and dysfunction in this man's family but Bergn Regional reallly doesn't do Adult Children of Alcoholics therapy for homeless and poor folks. (Note, Medicaid does not have the therapists we nonhomeless folks have.   Homeless can't get grief therapists or even go to support groups). 

All these factors which lead to homelessness become compounded when the effects of alcohol start to affect the brain.   Each individual has profound problems.

Some churches have taken their own problem children under their wings, but often there are disastrous results.  At the local level, perhaps the Board of Health needs to be expanded to include mental health services.  Laws that forbid committment really  need to be softened.   Problem is, at least for schizophrenics, when they're stabilized, they don't need to institutionalized.   It's almost impossible to address the unique needs of homeless folks.   

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on October 16, 2005, 07:43:33 PM
The "housed" homeless are another category.   Many people who look homeless aren't homeless, but are living in rooming houses.   Several rooming houses are  notorious for being drug dens, shooting galleries and sodden with booze.   Others houses are used for mental health consumers and social service agencies like PACT place their clients in these houses.   No longer homeless, they're hanging out in Hackensack talking to invisible companions.   They scare people on Main Street.   This is a tough category.  Agencies like CAP and PACT and ICMS outreach on their clients' turf.   Medication is administered where they live with periodic psychiatric visits at Bergen.   Problem is, without the supervision, these clients more often than not go off their meds, invite other homeless folks into their rooms and then get evicted.   Again, they're not crazy enough to be committed.   

These folks could use mentors - someone to play chess with, make sure they're stable on meds, are getting to meals, and perhaps getting in touch with family, etc.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: ericmartindale on October 17, 2005, 11:31:16 PM
Thanks for the review on my categories of homeless. I’m glad people are reading it. Despite what some people think, I really do want to help the homeless, and feel that programs for them should be EXPANDED at Bergen Regional. Merely stating that specific programs don’t exist there is no excuse for them not existing there.

 I am fundamentally opposed to moving the needy and homeless from institutions into “community settings”,  unless they are individuals who could possibly benefit from such a transition. The hard core homeless are have no place in a community setting in Hackensack or any other municipality. No community should have to deal with this population walking around the streets to and from places like Peter’s Place who cater to those who can’t follow the rules at County shelters.

I was unaware of the Paterson orphanage connection, what a tragedy. I am going to stick with my categories, and include those grown up orphans in the other categories, as appropriate. Some are alcoholics, and probably some are mentally ill.

As for the “housed homeless”, I have long been aware that there is a population that migrates back and forth between boarding houses and homeless shelters. This has long been the excuse to dump all the shelters into Hackensack.

This is also a problem in Rutherford, and Mayor Bernadette McPherson (also Freeholder chair) takes great pride in her project to annihilate Rutherford’s share of the solution, a 34-unit rooming house known as “The Maples”. It’s right on the edge of Rutherford’s downtown, on a street that is their equivalent to State Street. Does anyone doubt that most of those residents will wind up on the streets of Hackensack?

Instead of being held up as a shining example of being a town that does something for the homeless, Rutherford is being allowed to PURGE itself of all the housed homeless and dump them into Hackensack. No wonder she’s so eager to expand the homeless shelter in Hackensack, otherwise Rutherford might have to pay to house them somewhere. I think it is TOTAL HYPOCRACY that the Record and the homeless advocates of Bergen County turn a blind eye to what is happening in Rutherford. That's part of the reason they are widely known throughout Hackensack as "the Rag" or "The Record Rag". I really lose respect for them. So far I’m the only one at Freeholder meetings defending the housed homeless of Rutherford.

I am of the impression that 211 Passaic Street is the worst of all boarding houses, but I have no facts to back it up. Could “HOPE” please identify which are Hackensack’s  really bad boarding houses, by address. I also want to point out that the lives of the housed homeless are in great danger, these boarding houses are firetraps and burn quickly.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on October 18, 2005, 07:46:12 AM
211 Passaic Street is the worst, according to those on the street.  It is the cheapest, too.   I don't have street numbers, but there are a few on Union Street and Railroad and in the Railroad Avenue neighborhood.  Better rooms can be found in the Anderson Street area.  Hackensack also has its share of "apartments" ,barely above slum level, that one person rents and other's flop in.   

Knowing most, if not all, the Peter's Place crowd, I can attest to the fact that most are not there because they can't follow rules at the shelters.   

The Compcare clients sitting on Ward and Main must be deterrents to business.   Is this because Compcare has no waiting area inside?  Why is it okay for mental health clients to be sitting on the street if they are waiting for an appointment or their business at the facility is done?
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: ericmartindale on October 18, 2005, 10:49:27 PM
Thank you “Hope” for responding to my inquiry and engaging in positive dialog. Please help us some more.

(1)   You confirmed my suspicions about 211 Passaic Street. I think it is high time for the city inspectors to RAID it, inspect every room, and issue violation notices where needed. These type of raids are done on the behalf of tenants, not against them. A similar RAID was recently done at 345 Prospect Avenue, an upscale apartment building that was neglected for many years and fell into disrepair. It was done at the request of the tenants, and the city is making a ton of money in fines (I think it’s in the six figures). If 211 Passaic Street is the “worst” of all the boarding houses, that likely means the people are living in conditions worse than they should, and that needs to be addressed as a quality of life issue. Secondly, if conditions at 211 Passaic Street improve, maybe over time it will house a slightly higher quality tenant, perhaps comparable to the boarding houses that you refer to an in the “Anderson Street area”.  What would your feelings be if the city undertook such an action at 211 Passaic Street?

(2)   Where are the “flophouse” apartments that you say are barely above slum level, where one person rents and others flop in. My guess is 4 or 5 of the houses on Central Avenue between First Street and Railroad Avenue, perhaps on or two on the adjacent block of High Street, the green house on Railroad Place between Central and High, 4 houses on the south side of Lawrence Street just west of Union Street, the NE corner of Kansas & Green, the house on Second Street right next to the Carver Park basketball court,  the SW corner of Washington & Lafayette, and the SW corner of Washington & Frederick. Can you confirm any of these, or identify others.

(3)   Please enlighten us more on the Peter’s Place crowd. You say they are NOT there because they can’t follow the rules at the County shelters. I’ll have to take your word on that….granted I’m still in the dark. Please explain why they are at Peter’s Place instead of at the County shelters?

(4)   I’ve heard grumblings about the Compcare situation at Main & Ward. I agree with your observation that this loitering is not acceptable. What percent of the Compcare crowd are homeless and receiving mental health services versus persons that have stable housing and use Compcare services?

(5) Do you know if the YMCA is still housing homeless people in 10+/- mini-apartments on the upper floors of the complex?
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on October 19, 2005, 10:48:09 AM
Peter's Place provides beds because there are not enough shelter beds.    There are some of the most mild-mannered homeless clients there, as well as some of the drinkers and schizophrenics. 

Social workers at both HMC and Bergen Regional have stated that there are beds available at Kansas Street, but Kansas St. claims there are none.    This has also been reported with IRF church beds, where in some churches, only a handful are filled.   For instance, on St. Patrick's Day, 2 people came to an area church for the night.  They had 15 beds and had prepared dinner and bagged lunch for 15. 

The YMCA still has rooms for a variety of tenants, men transitioning from being homeless, working people, a retired man. 

There are other crappy apartments within a block of Main St.   The city knows who owns them.

It's been a crazy week.  I'll try to get the census numbers soon.
Title: Mentoring the homeless
Post by: Hope Donnelly on October 22, 2005, 11:01:26 AM
I finally have a free moment to sit and write something that might make some sense regarding mentoring the homeless.

It's safe to say that the people who end up homeless are from very dysfunctional families, abusive situations, like the orphanage and foster care kids that aged out.   They never had a sense of belonging anywhere and once homeless, they are grouped together with people whose lives are equally or more screwed up than their own.   Except for occasional help from agencies, they're on their own.   

Once homeless, the feeling of not belonging intensifies as no one wants them around - the police pick on them (with good reason most of the time), no one wants shelters or services near residential areas or businesses.   What better way to compound a sense of not belonging than to be a "bum."   I can totally understand the desire to build a shelter in an area removed from the business district, but for the homeless person, this is just another way of saying get lost.   

The other issue with homeless folks is that they have nothing to do once they get sucked into the downward spiral of their living conditions.   They don't think like someone who is not homeless does, even if they had a comfortable existence prior.   For instance, they will panhandle quarters for $1.00 24 oz beers, but wouldn't think to use those quarters to dry their blanket at a laundromat.   Things like this need to be pointed out and reminded over and over again until it becomes part of their mentality.   What we think is simple is not for many of them. 

Mentoring would help pull many folks back into mainstream.   There are so many little things that a mentor could do, such as reminding a person to wash their hands before having a cup of coffee or a meal, remembering birthdays, holidays, talking about the homeless person's life, past, present and future, asking the homeless person their opinions, hopes, etc.   I gave my guy a little research project at the library that gave him something to do.

A mentoring relationship would probably work best if established by word-of-mouth.   The social workers, rightfully so, have rules about confidentiality, ethics, etc., so it would be unlikely that BCCAP would refer a person to a mentor.    Mentoring really means developing a friendship and being a support to another person. 

Though I've given out my phone number to more than 25 homeless folks, not one has ever abused it.   Hospitals have called me as a contact person, I've even worked with the Bergen County Jail physicians because an inmate gave them my number, but I've never received crank calls or calls in the early morning.   However, sharing personal info would be up to the mentor and I would not recommend it until a trusting relationship has been established.   

Finding a homeless person is quite easy in Hackensack (you could email me at holistichell@yahoo.com) just by a walk up Main Street, a stroll through Anderson Park, or a visit to the Hackensack Library.   The library and Anderson Park are better places to meet because unruly or very drunk people are kicked out.   Going to CAP at night or Faith Foundation might be overwhelming.   

There is one thing that became clear to me in my work and that is - there is not enough food to feed the hungry in Hackensack.   The Salvation Army closed and with it went a hot meal.   Kansas St has "brunch" around 11 a.m., so that is the first meal really available on a regular basis and that consists of bologna sandwiches, hot dogs, etc.   Then CAP serves dinner at 4-5 pm.    There are a few weekend breakfasts served at churches.   Homeless people do not qualify for food stamps or only get a few dollars per month, as they have no place to store food.    Center for Food Action distributes to individuals only 6 x per year, and the Salvation Army pantry at 2nd Reformed has been low and\or out of food recently.   Food would definitely provide a vehicle for establishing a relationship.   

If anyone wants further info, please email me at holistichell@yahoo.com.   
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: itsme on October 31, 2005, 03:53:08 PM
The Green house next to Carver Park is not a flop house.  It is a four family home with single families residing therein.  Having been inside one of the apartments, it appears that there are no violations and that apartment was extremely neat.  It was occupied by hardworking parents.  Don't judge a book by its cover.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: ericmartindale on November 02, 2005, 09:13:53 AM
That house on Second Street just north of Carver Park hasn't been green for years, it was resided with new vinyl.

Actually I thought it was a four-family with 2 illegal apartments, for a total of six families. It may no longer be a 6-family, I'm unsure. It's the size of a typical single-family house, so the apartments must be extremely small. Having either 4 or 6 families in a 100+ year old wood frame house is a SEVERE fire hazard. Those who live there live there under a constant risk of fire, and that is just plain wrong as far as I'm concerned. This house meets any reasonable definition of the word "tenement", even if one of the four units is kept in a cleanly condition by its occupants. The fact that it is next to an auto junkyard doesn't help the quality of life there.

These are the type of conditions that Hackensack needs desperately to remedy if we are to survive and thrive as a community. In fact, one of the stated reasons for NJ's Mt. Laurel Housing program is to provide decent safe affordable housing, as opposed to tenement conditions in 100+ year old houses divided into tiny apartments.

The city should use emminiet domain here. [Sentence modified]. The auto junkyard, the 2 auto body shops, the former Alan Party Rental, the former green house, and the scrap iron yard across the street should all be redeveloped for new 2-family houses. No other houses in that block should be included in any such redevelopment. This would really restore the residential quality, and bring it up to the level that currently exists on the surrounding blocks, or better.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on November 09, 2005, 03:29:38 PM
Do people know that "food stamps", now disbursed via a credit or ATM-like card, can be converted to cash.   All one now needs to do is go to an ATM machine that has the Quest logo on it and take out cash just like you or I can.  I know of several housed homeless who lost or drank the full amount within the first week.   I don't know what can be done, as the complaints in the past that food stamps could not be used for tampons, diapers and toilet paper probably made this system possible.   It's amazing the amount of money that is bouncing around on the streets in the form of SSI, SSD and Families First benefits. 
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on November 13, 2005, 09:15:07 AM
Latest story:  Shelter confronts uncertain future (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2ODE1ODcw)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: ericmartindale on November 13, 2005, 09:34:24 PM
Mr Editor, I don't like the way you edited my above post. I don't like the way you cut up my post and added the words [Sentence modified]. Your action gives the false impression that I said something bad about the NEIGHBORHOOD, prompting you to remove it. 

I want to point out that what was modified was criticism of the city for ignoring the situation. Why shouldn't I be critical of the city not being proactive enough to advance redevelopment of industrial decay located in the middle of residential neighborhoods? 

You know I'm a straight shooter. Do I have to support the city on everything?


Say what you want, but can't use profanity on my site.  There are some words you can't say on television, the radio, the newspaper. Same applies here. There may be kids looking at this.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on November 14, 2005, 07:48:29 AM
"Hackensack Mayor Marlin Townes declined comment, saying only that he wants to meet with shelter officials and discuss their plans. Brian Hague, a spokesman for the county, said the only shelter the county would be lending its support to is their own."

The above is from the 8/5/05 Record article regarding the possible expansion of Peter's Place.

Marlin Townes doesn't seem to comment on much, and it looks like he has no plans of his own, other than to see what the County wants.    The County wanted to close the family shelter and did.   THe County wants "its own" shelter, which will not cover the needs of the homeless population if Peter's Place and possibly Orchard Street close.   Going from 38 beds to 100, with 25 of those 100 being for emergencies won't cut it. 

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on November 14, 2005, 09:22:53 AM
The following is an opinion that appeared in the November 14, 2005 edition of The Record:

Regarding Columnist Lawrence Aaron's "Compassion for a troubled mom" (Other Views, Nov. 4):

While I certainly don't commend Melinda Williams for her neglect and torture of her children, which resulted in the death of 7-year-old Faheem, I do laud Aaron. His determination to search behind "closed doors" to understand and enlighten us as to how and why people commit such atrocities never ceases to amaze me.

In my work with the homeless I am often met with a social apathy as to why people live on our streets, drunk, drug-addicted and mentally ill. There are people who believe these pathetic souls are where they are purely because that's where they choose to be. That is absolutely not the case.

No one wants to be a sexually abused child and teenage mother, no one wishes to be a substance abuser and no one asks to be stricken with mental illness. And very few know how to better themselves alone. Help isn't just around the corner, as many taxpayers believe. It's a tedious road we travel to locate proper treatment facilities and an even longer road for those few fortunate enough to gain admission.

Writers like Aaron raise our social consciousness and force us to ask the same question he does: "Why"?

Horrors such as what Faheem Williams and his siblings endured might have been avoided had Melinda Williams been offered help long ago, when the shattering of her own childhood was ignored.

Robin Reilly

Hackensack, Nov. 4

The writer is executive director of the FAITH Foundation (Faith Advocacy Impacting the Homeless).
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on November 17, 2005, 09:18:19 PM
Over 2000 "views" and not much discussion. 

I was talking to a homeless guy today, one that I see often in Anderson Park.   He's perfectly healthy, sane, but drinks.   He drinks, he said, because he's homeless.   When asked why he's homeless, he said he never could figure out how to do things.   Having been to a social worker\therapist, he was told there was nothing wrong with him.   He seems physically capable of working, but doesn't seem to know how.   Where does he fit in? not eligible for benefits, not lazy, polite, no skills. 

Another guy told me some just don't want to be responsible for anything.

These cases don't make sense.   It's one thing to not want to be responsible, but to be homeless instead?   To get soaked like people did last night rather than have a roof over one's head?

There's got to be something missing in the field of psychology that would explain this disconnection in reasoning.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on November 17, 2005, 09:33:21 PM
These boards are funny that way sometimes.  Weeks will go by with many people just reading and not posting.

Hey,- with "blogs" no one ever responds.  Keep posting!

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on November 22, 2005, 09:27:44 AM
Latest story: Court backs homeless shelter (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2ODIwNDk2)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on November 27, 2005, 09:05:10 PM
The homeless folks I work with asked me to post  a big THANK YOU to everyone who put on two great Thanksgiving Day feasts (one on Sunday prior to T-day) at Peter's Place.   The food was wonderful, the girl scouts and all the other volunteers worked their butts off to bring a lot of holiday cheer to many people. 
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on November 29, 2005, 09:16:38 AM
Latest stories:

Salvation Army relocation delayed at least a year (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2ODI3ODM4)

The following is from The Record's "Bergen County Briefs":

Tuesday, November 29, 2005   

HACKENSACK - Organizations are preparing to get the homeless ready for the chilly days and nights ahead.

The Upper Main Alliance, which oversees the city's special improvement district, is collecting coats, bedding, linens, comforters, blankets, towels and hygiene products, including soap, shampoo, toothpaste and deodorant. The Bergen Community Action Program, which runs the Orchard Street day shelter, will benefit from the donations.

Leo Pflieger, executive director of the organization, said donations will be taken throughout December. He said items can be dropped off, or pickups can be arranged.

For information, call the Upper Main Alliance office at (201) 498-1690.

The FAITH Foundation, a homeless advocacy program on State Street, is also collecting items to keep its clients warm. The organization is gathering blankets, gloves, hats and scarves. Water bottles are also needed.

For information, call (201) 342-9007.

- Monsy Alvarado
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on November 29, 2005, 07:06:45 PM
A phone call to ask about possible apartment openings through the Hackensack Housing Authority on First Street resulted in a disappointing response.   It was merely a rumor that low cost housing became available recently.   The waiting list stands at 4-5 years, and there is no emergency housing.    Even with disabilities, such as the ones some homeless folks I'm working with have - a colostomy, severe asthma, and left-sided paralysis -  there is nothing available.

What is available is for people with big bucks, like those who might be interested in a new condo on State Street, across from Simon Sez.   

Not all the Hackensack shelters are open yet, despite the cold, rain and wind, which would be enough of an emergency for me.

The homeless people I work with say they've accepted their situation.   It's one reason why they no longer fight for themselves - it's always a losing battle.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: DebbieK on December 10, 2005, 12:13:50 PM
The Volunteer Center of Bergen County has received holiday gift requests in its All Wrapped Up program from homeless agencies.   If you are interested in spreading some holiday cheer to the homeless men and women of Bergen County, please go to www.bergenvolunteers.org, holiday programs, and you will find instructions on how to donate gifts to these and other agencies.

Happy Holidays!
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on December 11, 2005, 10:00:50 AM
Latest story:  Program for needy seeking holiday gifts (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2ODM3MzM1)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on December 15, 2005, 09:10:35 AM
Latest story:  Shelter from the cold (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2ODM5MTA5)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on January 03, 2006, 08:12:49 AM
A while back I posted about mentoring the homeless.   After doing so for six months with one particular person, I was unable to continue with him.  Two more have done well.    Follow uo to July 2006, the former is still in housing, having on and off problems with drinking, but still in housing, which for him is a miracle.   That means he's cashing his own check, paying his rent and hasn't caused enough trouble to be evicted.

The causes - abandonment and neglect - are very, very profound.   Perhaps it is not possible to overcome this because of the complexity of it.   What does years of malnutrition, emotional neglect, alcohol or drug use starting at an early age, lack of education, and lack of love do to a child?  These are the homeless - especially the street people who seemingly don't want to be helped.   

Mentoring helps only a little bit.   A team of mentors is actually needed for each person, but we know that is impossible.  There are barely enough social workers with expertise in the issues of homelessness, other than obtaining benefits and services. 

I've met so many wonderful people at New Hope Baptist Church, Center for Food Action, Salvation Army, Bergen County CAP, people who accept our hopeless cases for what they are.   It's very sad to say nothing can be done, but in many cases, nothing can be done.  The best we can do is not judge, treat them all like human beings that they are, and make sure all children, from ALL walks of life, are being nutured.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on January 03, 2006, 10:03:06 AM
Latest story:  A tragic loss on eve of change (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2ODUwNTM2)

A new post was also added above.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on January 03, 2006, 03:19:54 PM
I'm saddened to read the news about James Williams, and my heart goes out to the two drivers who hit him.  James Williams was a very nice person under his frightening appearance.  I spoke with him on many occasions on the street, saw him in the ER, where he spent many a day and night.   When I saw him walking in traffic just two days before he died, I wondered if it was a miracle that had kept him from being hit by a car sooner.   He and I, a social worker in the ER, and even the security guard, talked about him getting rehab, planning a life after rehab, and getting back on his feet.   Although he thought it all sounded good, he never sounded like he believed it was possible.   If it doesn't come from within, how does rehab happen?  This is the problem for those who never got on their feet to begin with, who never had any hope.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on January 06, 2006, 08:00:11 PM
I'm sure notes of sympathy and condolences would be appreciated by the homeless clients of FAITH Foundation.   

Homeless folks don't have access to grief counselling nor do they have people who would send them a sympathy card. 

The address for FAITH is 86 State Street, and the client was James Williams.   

Today was also the one-year anniversary of the suspicious death of Cindy Russell, a tiny homeless woman who helped out at FAITH.   
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on January 15, 2006, 07:35:57 PM
Losing the daily battle to keep a roof overhead (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkxNjcmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTY4NTcwNDQmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3)

"There is no safety net," said Robin Reilly, executive director and founder of the Faith Foundation homeless shelter in Hackensack. "Where a parent might say, 'Come here for a couple of weeks until you get onto your feet,' there is nobody for them. They say, 'I can't go to my family, they don't want me."
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on January 29, 2006, 10:14:44 AM
Latest story: Refuge draws fire (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2ODcxMDQy)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on February 11, 2006, 10:49:12 AM
Tree cutter must serve in Bergen (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2ODc3NTkx)

Fuhrman and Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Michael Maher said the county's plan is to have Krieger serve at a homeless shelter in Hackensack or a nursing home in Rockleigh.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on April 06, 2006, 10:48:30 PM
Latest story:  Shelter blocked again in bid for grant (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2OTExODAx)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Crawford on April 09, 2006, 06:39:23 PM
On Tuesday, Mayor Marlin Townes told shelter officials and supporters that Hackensack is not against the homeless and that the council has endorsed other grant applications that help the homeless. But he added that his daughter worked at the city library and that her experiences with the homeless "scarred her forever."

"I had to actually take her away from that job because of that," Townes said. "I will not be graphic or anything about what happened, but what happened was totally, totally out of bounds."

So is THIS what he is basing his decision to oppose the grant on?  Scarred for life???   Puhleeze!  Yes - mentally ill people do things that are totally out of bounds.   They do things with poop, they do things with their bodies, and with other people's bodies, and no one wants to see it.  Well - then start working on laws that place indigent mentally ill people in assisted living where they can no longer offend.     

If Peter's Place closes, and FAITH Foundation will probably close with the proposed construction on that block, where are "those people" going to go?

Maybe the manufacturers of $1.00 22- ounce beers (9% ABV) that are sold in the liquor stores in the diciest sections of Hackensack and urban cities will fund sheltering. 
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Jwalsh on April 10, 2006, 12:07:48 AM
Good question: "Where will 'those people' go?"

Hackensack already has one shelter on the way.  When every other Bergen town has a shelter, maybe then we should allow another. 

The council withheld their endorsement of a grant for Peter's Place.  An endorsement essentially says the council thinks the project is in the City's best interest or at least won't hurt it. 

How could the council honestly endorse a program when the businesses and residents in the community have repeatedly said enough already. 
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: DebbieK on April 11, 2006, 10:41:43 AM
The grounds of Bergen Regional have ample space for housing.   Advocate Robin Reilly supports this option (interviewed on News12 last year).  Paramus residents would probably have a NIMBY issue though.

Historically, homeless issues have been dealt with symptomatically.  All programs are money pits if they don't address the social structural problems.

The current news of the preschool owners embezzling funds is the type of thing that plants the seeds for homelessness.   School personnel, especially in low socioeconomic districts need to be the eyes and ears and advocates for these children.   The best interests of these poor kids is not important to these thieves.

The past and present ineffectiveness of DYFS is an incubator for new homeless once clients age out.   

Bergen County Human Services needs volunteers to do the homeless census in April.  I will be doing it, looking forward to seeing where the 5000 homeless (IRF) are in Bergen County.   

No one wants homeless people, but closing shelters won't get rid of them.  Peter's Place has expanded its Next Step program which helps people move up and onward.   When the new shelter is built,  Orchard Street will likely close, Peter's Place and the annex will close, day shelter FAITH Foundation will close, and the new shelter won't be sufficient.   The council needs to push for different options that make other BC towns more responsible.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on April 13, 2006, 09:17:06 AM
Your Views (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkxNCZmZ2JlbDdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5NjkxNjQwNA==) (Record, 4/13/06)

Your Views (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkxNCZmZ2JlbDdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5NjkxMjc0Mg==) (Record, 4/10/06)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on April 25, 2006, 09:46:05 AM
Latest story:  Factory site eyed for shelter (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2OTI0NzUy)

"It's a fine location for the shelter,'' he said. "If there is a site a quarter-mile down the road that works just as well and is also sensitive to the concerns of the business community, it's a win-win for everybody."
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on April 25, 2006, 05:41:54 PM
Do the planners really think this location will make that much of a difference?  The homeless people who are alcohol-dependent, walk each Sunday morning to Little Ferry, where the liquor stores open early.   As long as there is low cost beer and vodka available at the stores on Main, Hudson and South State Streets., homeless people and those who people believe are homeless will be panhandling and buying in Hackensack.  Not all who panhandle and loiter are homeless, either.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on April 26, 2006, 12:23:53 AM
I don't think anyone believes that the shelter relocation is the total solution to Main Street's "homeless" problem.  All things considered, the factory site just makes more sense.

The formerly proposed site on Kansas is right on Main Street's door step. Just as the newly formed business improvement district was starting to gather momentum, businesses would now have to contend with increased panhandling traffic steming from the future shelter.  Placing the shelter across River Street will hopefully create some kind of buffer.  Regardless, the mere presense of a shelter on Kansas would deter shoppers not only on Main, but on Hudson which is also undergoing revitalization.

This isn't a case of "not in my backyard", it's more like "not in my bedroom".

Also, placing the shelter next to the proposed County Police HQ couldn't hurt. Freeing up the Kansas Street property could also create a commercial, tax ratable property that works better in that vicinity.  Consolidating multiple county facilities on the east side of River Street (near the county jail) makes sense.   

I agree with you that alcohol is a problem and that's something the business community should address.  I'm only aware of one liquor store at the southern end of Main Street and one on Hudson. Are there others? 

Another factor that I don't hear much about is the treatment ability of the proposed shelter. I really hope that doctors, counselors and social workers at the shelter can make a difference.   
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Upset on April 26, 2006, 12:32:29 PM
Sure, it's bad enough we have the jail so why not add the shelter. Considering that they're planing to build a condo complex right by the jail does this really make any sense. What they should really do is build the shelter in N. Hackensack right by the County Police station. There's nothing out there and most stores in that area close by 7pm which would be perfect. Just my .02
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on April 26, 2006, 04:03:39 PM
Other liquor stores are on State St. across from the State Street Hotel and new condos (I think it is Simon Sez), Parisi's on South State, which is a great Italian deli that also sells the 22-24 oz beers for a buck, Rojas' on Hudson; Georges, also, up on Anderson. 

Since the shelters empty out early in the a.m., the location will not really make a difference for this crowd.

I learned that one of the worst drinkers, but one of the nicest homeless guys, died in HMC last week.  It seems the "regulars" are dying off.  However, talking with a woman who volunteers in one of the shelters, a "nice looking 21-year-old" from Cresskill was hanging out at a drop-in center with no place to go.   He had moved to NYC, didn't do well there, so came to Hackensack for services.  More of these kinds of clients are showing up looking for services - kids from "good homes" who don't have a clue as to how to take care of themselves or who have mental disorders that were missed or ignored. 

I haven't heard what kind of services will be offered at the new shelter.   A long time ago, in The Record, if I'm recalling correctly, they were talking about a medical clinic, social workers, etc.    There are social workers now who will not deal with the developmentally disabled homeless because they do not (cannot) follow through with simple directions.   

It isn't clear yet, though rumor has it, that Orchard St. CAP will close when the new shelter opens.   That at least would keep the homeless (and not-homeless) from having dinner and walking through town to get to shelters, rooming houses, and camping areas after 5 p.m.   It would also mean more people sleeping outside.  When FAITH Foundation closes, which is a good thing and a bad thing, it will be interesting to see where their clients end up.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on April 28, 2006, 09:40:38 AM
Latest story:  Haven for the homeless must make way for condos (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2OTI2MTM1)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on May 09, 2006, 09:46:21 AM
Related topic: 211 Passaic Street DESTROYED (http://www.hackensacknow.org/forums/index.php/topic,660.0.html)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on May 10, 2006, 10:05:49 AM
Latest story (Record Editorial):  Continuing struggle to aid the homeless (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkxNCZmZ2JlbDdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5NjkzMjYzNg==)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on May 19, 2006, 10:09:03 AM
Latest story:  Contract to redesign shelter plans OK'd (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2OTM2NjYx)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on May 23, 2006, 10:05:49 AM
Latest story: Architect is generous with Dems (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2OTM4MzY0)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on May 25, 2006, 09:24:00 AM
The following is from "Your Views", The Record, May 25, 2006.  It is the County Executive's reply to the above article.

Regarding "Architect is generous with Dems" (Page L-1, May 23) on plans for the new Bergen County Homeless Shelter in Hackensack:

I am concerned that you are losing sight of the underlying objective -- our governmental obligation to some of our county's most needy residents.

For more than 20 years, government officials of one of the wealthiest counties in America forced the county's homeless population to seek emergency shelter in decrepit trailers with inadequate amenities along Kansas Street in Hackensack. When I became county executive in 2003, I vowed to build a modern shelter for the estimated 900 homeless people living in Bergen County. My decision had nothing to do with politics; it was simply the right thing to do.

The proposal to locate the new homeless shelter on part of the former S. Goldberg & Co. property has created renewed cooperation with the city of Hackensack. This goodwill will allow the county to receive millions of dollars in federal funding to offset the cost of construction and future operations of the shelter.

The new homeless shelter was designed to have 85 permanent beds and 25 "safe haven" beds. Additionally, the plan included a cafeteria-style service line to accommodate 140 people, an onsite doctor and nurse, and "dress for success" rooms to assist the homeless in their quests to obtain meaningful employment.

The architect chosen for this humanitarian endeavor has a proven track record of designing projects of this magnitude for a host of communities in Bergen County and the surrounding area. I am pleased to have retained professionals who share my commitment to helping the homeless.

My administration has addressed a serious issue that was ignored for decades. The homeless deserve the best opportunity to improve their lives.

Dennis McNerney

Hackensack, May 23

The writer is Bergen County executive.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Eric Martindale on May 25, 2006, 10:45:51 AM
Thank you, Mr. McNerny, for not even addressing the PAY-TO-PLAY allegations raised by The Record.

You can’t hide behind the merits of the project.  Personally, I like this project because the County has conceded to building it where city officials wanted it to be built.  But whether this project is good or not is totally irrelevant to any PAY-TO-PLAY allegation. 

Here’s Webster’s definition of the term NON SEQUITUR:  “a statement that has no relevance to what has preceded it”. How dare you use a non sequitur as a response to a critical editorial.

Not only have you insulted The Record (which doesn’t bother me too much), you have insulted the intelligence of your constituents. This is an educated and politically savy County, and you haven’t fooled too many of us. You have instead pissed us off. And that’s coming from a registered Democrat that voted for you.  I wonder what Republicans would have to say about it.

Hey, every politician has his favored contractors who throw money their way.  If that design project went out to public bid, your favored contractor would have bid lower.  The taxpayers of Bergen County would have saved money, and the contractor would have made less profit.  That’s the bottom line, folks.

When are we going to put an end to pay-to-play in Bergen County ?
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on May 26, 2006, 10:36:51 AM
Architectural rendering of the homeless facility to built at the former S. Goldberg site on E. Broadway and River St.

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on June 01, 2006, 09:53:51 AM
Latest story:  Remembering Bergen's homeless (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2OTQyMzgy)

"I think we do put a lot of burden on the city of Hackensack," Reilly said, adding that the homeless do come to Hackensack because it is the county seat and it's where much of the homeless services are located. But she said if these organizations had more help they'd be able to reduce the numbers of homeless. "Our main goal is to get them off the streets."
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on June 02, 2006, 09:41:05 AM
Latest story:  Better coordination needed to help the homeless (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk5JmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2OTQyNjc0)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on June 02, 2006, 03:39:41 PM
As usual, Mr. Aaron hits the nail on the head.  A big part of the problem IS the lack of quality services in Bergen County, yet NIMBYs are afraid of expanding services.   Doing so could alleviate problems.   I've never met a more conservative bunch of social workers than in the agencies of Bergen County, and by conservative I mean that they are of the opinion that any and all problems can be fixed solely by taking personal responsibility.  There are no outside factors influencing why someone is poor or homeless.    Any Social Services 101 classes teaches that liberal and radicals are more likely to go into this field, but they sure don't seem to be here.   It's as if Bergen County just can't admit it has a poverty problem.

Keith Standish was such a nice person under his scruffy appearance.    He had stunningly blue eyes.  I can hear the laughter at the musical mess-up at the memorial service.   Many of the "street people" possess a great sense of humor.  They need it, as there certainly is no grief counselling for them.   They are thrown together and labelled homeless, and as a group have lost something like 8-10 of their peers since January 2005.   
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on June 03, 2006, 03:04:48 PM

Excerpt from the article...
"Not surprisingly, studies show most foster teens, whose childhoods were marred by a parent's abuse, neglect or death, fare poorly when they exit the system.

"They're much more likely than their peers to end up incarcerated, homeless or sexually abused," says Mark Courtney, director of the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago. He co-wrote a study, released last year, that tracked 736 youth ages 17 to 19 after they exited foster care in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.

More than one-third had no high school diploma or GED, nearly half the women had been pregnant at least once by age 19 and nearly a third had at least one living child, a third suffered from substance abuse or mental illness and nearly a third of the men were imprisoned at least once since age 17.

Courtney says teens fare better if they stay in foster care longer or have a permanent family. He says some don't want to be adopted, because they don't want to sever ties to biological parents, but many do.

Even teens who appear to age out successfully suffer, says Chester Jackson, associate executive director of You Gotta Believe, a private New York City agency that finds adoptive parents for foster teens.

"There's a hole in their center," says Jackson, because they lack a sense of belonging."

Many of Hackensack's homeless aged out of foster care or orphanages and many were abused while in foster care.   

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on June 04, 2006, 11:31:37 PM
Found this on "YouTube", a site for homemade movies.

It's a short movie about a dinner for Hackensack's homeless hosted by "Metro Community Church" of Fort Lee.   It was recorded on December 12, 2004 (http://www.emetro.org/calendar.php?month=12&year=2004). 

Click here for the movie (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkQo7FjyP4U&search=Hackensack).

It's very well done and worth a look.

Follow-up:  5 minutes, 20 seconds into the video, you'll see a woman (presumably homeless) wearing a tag that says "Cindy".  Having just read Remembering Bergen's homeless, (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2OTQyMzgy) which mentions Cindy Russell, I'm wondering if that's her.  Sadly, she was killed on January 5, 2005 under "mysterious circumstances".  Can anyone confirm if that's her?

Articles about Cindy Russell:

Letters to the editor (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkxNCZmZ2JlbDdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5NjY0MjU2Ng==)

In a room off the kitchen, tears for a life on the streets (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2NjQwODY4)

Truck may have killed woman (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2NjM5OTk5)

Some relief for county's homeless (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2OTEmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTY3MjMyODcmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk5)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on June 05, 2006, 07:47:02 AM
Yes, it is Cindy in the video.   Some of the homeless I now know well had group photos that were taken at holiday dinners and she is pictured in them.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on June 07, 2006, 10:09:19 AM
Latest story:  City OKs new homeless shelter (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2OTQ1MDI5)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on June 07, 2006, 04:04:02 PM
The good news is that there will be beds and not chairs to sit in all night, as is the case with Orchard St.   The bad news is, this is a reduction in beds unless the programs start getting people off the street.   THe new shelter  only adds 37 beds, as they intend to keep 25 set aside for emergencies 100 - 25 -38 from Kansas St = 37).   The Orchard St clients exceed 37, and if Peter's Place closes, Hackensack will have more people on the street in the winter than they do now.   
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on June 16, 2006, 09:43:04 AM
Latest story:  Shelter taking shape (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkxNCZmZ2JlbDdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5Njk0ODc0Ng==)

I usually refrain from political comment in these boards, but am making an exception here.

Like so many other Hackensack residents, I am thrilled that the location of the shelter was moved and that the project is moving forward.  I take exception to the Record's accusation of "foot dragging". There was a tremendous amount of thought, planning and negotiation involved in reaching this very measured compromise.  Careful deliberation should be commended, especially when taking a step back lets us take five steps forward.

While we hear little mention, Freehold Tomas Padilla (also a Hackensack Police Captain) presented the location change and worked tirelessly to get everyone on board.  Thanks to him, we have a more feasible project,- a more suitable location, a better tax-ratable property at the East Kansas site, a better climate for downtown merchants and a great county tax-payer discount in the form of a likely $1M grant from the Federal government,- money we would have lost without City support.  The City did the right thing here- no doubt.

In typical form, the Record (as they did with the trestle project on River Street) spins the negative.  Project delays, traffic congestion, interruption of business, etc.  Projects of this magnitude take time and come with short term inconvenience.  That's the reality.  The focus should be on the long-term gain.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on June 23, 2006, 11:23:02 AM
From today's "Letters to the Editor" in The Record:   

Regarding "Remembering Bergen's homeless" (Page L-1, June 1), we would like to shed light on some of the information provided by Robin Reilly, manager of the F.A.I.T.H. Foundation homeless shelter in Hackensack.

The homeless are neither "overlooked" nor do they "have trouble getting the services they need." Staff at Bergen County Community Action Partnership work diligently 365 days a year to provide comprehensive services to the homeless. These services now include shelter, meals, showers, case management, transportation, and access to health, mental health and substance abuse treatment.

We work in close collaboration with Bergen County, other homeless providers, including the Interreligious Fellowship for the Homeless, and a host of other social service and mental health providers in the county. In addition, we have close ties to the Upper Main Street Business Alliance in Hackensack.

When Reilly states, "Services are grossly inadequate for those who slip between the cracks of impossible rules and regulations," she is in effect enabling -- saying that alcoholism and untreated, serious mental illness, often co-occurring, are OK.

Does anyone seriously think he or she can assist people in the arduous pursuit of changing their lives, of taking meaningful steps toward self-sufficiency, while failing to help those persons to rid themselves of the demons that help to keep them in the revolving door of homelessness?

Those suffering from the disease of alcoholism, substance addiction or serious mental illness cannot be helped merely by a well-intentioned handshake or a temporary respite. They need and deserve professional treatment. Otherwise, they often die.

At BCCAP we believe people can change, can be helped and can succeed. We do not and cannot accept those who are actively drunk or high from drugs into the current shelter or any environment where individuals are working to regain and maintain sobriety and self-sufficiency. It is not only counterproductive; it is unethical and regressive.

We do encourage those with active addictions to seek proper medical detox at Bergen Regional Medical Center and continue their recovery in inpatient treatment facilities and, where appropriate, in BCCAP's therapeutic halfway house. Those with mental illness can also be helped through therapy and appropriate medication so that they too can lead productive, independent lives.

An important new feature of the expanded shelter is that we will be able to work with those with active addictions and untreated mental illness while encouraging them to get necessary treatment to begin their paths to recovery and stability.

The bottom line is simply this: In order for treatment to occur, sobriety is required. Reilly should know that. The "impossible rules" she rails against include sobriety. It is in everyone's best interest to reach out to those who are sick and get them the help they need, not turn away from their disease or accept it as inevitable.

Robert F. Halsch Jr. and Lois A. Braithwaite

Hackensack, June 5

The writers are, respectively, executive chairman and chairwoman of the board of Bergen County Community Action Partnership Inc.

How condescending of you to venture a small round of applause while Hackensack gets royally screwed over again ("Shelter taking shape," Editorial, June 16). The expanded homeless shelter will encourage more of the unwanted to gravitate to our streets.

Hackensack is forced to accept a myriad of social services, especially the jail, which 69 other towns fail to appreciate.

Maybe people do a walk in Woodcliff Lake or Saddle River to raise money for the homeless. Maybe they serve meals to the homeless. But these supposedly charitable people are the hypocritical "nimbys" of the wealthy communities.

Enid Huskiewicz
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on June 26, 2006, 10:14:50 PM
"Services are grossly inadequate for those who slip between the cracks of impossible rules and regulations," she (Robin Reilly) said.

There are many, mostly the ones that do wander the streets drunk or insane, that don't have the wherewithall to get to Bergen Regional at 7:30 a.m. to be voluntarily admitted for 3-5 day detox.   There is then about a 30 day waiting list to get into rehab, for 21 days, which is grossly inadequate.  There is no place to go between detox and rehab but back to the streets.  There are few services, if any, for those without Medicaid.

There is no therapy - there is psychiatry, not psychology - for homeless people.   There are mental health workers that are supposed to administer meds where their clients live (usually in SROs), but often meds appointments are missed, either by the MHR or the client.   This usually means admission to a psych unit.   After visiting several patients at Bergen, I learned an awful lot about mental health services for haves and have-nots.   If the client went in schizophrenic, they ended up depressed, too. 

The funny thing about BCCAP's and Robin Reilly's comments is that they are both right about some things and but are also trying to sell stuff that doesn't exist.   Instead of cooperation, there is too much jockeying for attention.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Skipx219 on June 30, 2006, 04:52:17 PM
 I'm sorry to hear about the problem for those Homeless who need Rehab. I'm also sorry to hear that all the creative mind of those who run these programs can't come up with a solution to this problem and a solution is needed.
 My Office and home are around the corner from the Orchard St center and my business neighbors and I deal with the problems of the Drinking Homeless on a daily basis. I've found them sleeping on my front porch at night and on my front steps in the late afternoon. On June 18, 2006 one lady walked into my home having to walk up 21 steps to do so. She asked to use my bathroom ( how could I refuse ) she fell and broke the toilet seat. I escorted her back down the 21 steps to the Public sidewalk. I spoke to her for a few minutes and she said she would talk to a Councelor about Rehab. Needless to say -- she is still walking the area today.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on June 30, 2006, 08:13:48 PM

You were very kind to let the woman in but please don't do that again.   Orchard St. has bathrooms that she could have used.

To Robin Reilly's credit, she gets homeless people into rehab programs in NYC, where programs are better.  Unfortunately, many of them return to Hackensack, some to show the others how well they are doing and they end up starting the cycle all over again.   Alcohol rehab experts say it takes at least 8 months of rehab to have any meaningful recovery - and that's for people who are developmentally developed.   Most of the alcoholics on the street are not - they are at the emotional development of the age they started drinking - most of them preadolescence and early teens.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Skipx219 on July 01, 2006, 10:36:47 AM
 I'll not allow that to happen again -- that's for sure.
 It's difficult to observe their self destructive behavior on a daily basis.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on August 11, 2006, 09:45:25 AM
Latest story:  Working toward a solution for the homeless (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkxNCZmZ2JlbDdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5Njk3Mzc4Ng==)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on August 11, 2006, 06:15:15 PM
Lawrence Aaron tells it like it is...again.

I wonder if any people at all from Bergen attended this meeting.  After the ridiculous letter that BCCAP wrote that appeared in the Record in June, I doubt it. 

The United Way is busy throwing all its resources into 2-1-1.  Bergen County CAP either doesn't have the funds or the expertise to handle the most difficult cases.   Bergen Regional Medical Center has very little to offer the mentally ill and those addicted since childhood.   Passaic County understands the problems with discharging patients too early, with unfinished wound care, the length of time needed with detox and rehab, and what happens when there is insufficient follow up on medication.  So many Bergen mentally ill were SUPPOSED to be followed up on their "turf" as one mental health agencies states on their website, but weren't, and ended up decompensating, losing their housing and back in the hospital.

Bergen Regional, Bergen CAP and CompCare couldn't keep the high profile case that Tom Davies wrote about last year, under stable mental health care.   She is back on the street after being hospitalized for a year (read imprisoned)  and then placed in a group home.   The "program" in the group home was to bus her to the streets of Hackensack early in the morning so she could spend the day with homeless alcoholics.  SHe is now homeless again.

The service agencies in Bergen would rather argue amongst each other over who is doing the job the right way.  They could take many lessons from Common Ground in NYC and the efforts of agencies in Passaic County.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: ericmartindale on August 12, 2006, 07:28:55 AM
The last poster mentioned there is a program to bus people to the streets of Hackensack so that they can mingle with the homeless on our streets. 

I can understand that a group home might bus people to a FACILITY in Hackensack, but I am very upset to learn that buses actually discharge people to be homeless at some location in Hackensack.  A few questions:

What is this program

What group home participates in this program

Where do the buses let people off

What time are these people let off, and then picked up

How many people daily are let off at this location
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on August 12, 2006, 05:11:47 PM
The " facility" is at the corner of Ward and Main, which has become the makeshift waiting room for those clients.   An extended van discharges residents of group homes (one in Emerson,  the other in Garfield, but I'm not sure about that), in the muni lot at State St.   There is no program per se at CompCare, obvious from the amount of time the clients spend on the sidewalk outside the office and wandering about the Anderson Park area and from speaking with some of the ones I know.   The van drops the clients off before 9 a.m. and they leave for the day 3:30-ish. 
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: BLeafe on August 12, 2006, 07:31:16 PM
The " facility" is at the corner of Ward and Main, which has become the makeshift waiting room for those clients.   An extended van discharges residents of group homes (one in Emerson,  the other in Garfield, but I'm not sure about that), in the muni lot at State St. 

That lot is right outside my window. There are 3-4 vans every day dropping off the same people I've seen them drop off for years. Some of them are in no physical shape (or of no inclination) to wander anywhere. I don't know what the rest of them do.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: BLeafe on August 12, 2006, 07:42:39 PM
I'm confused............isn't this thread supposed to be about actual homeless people, as opposed to mentally-disadvantaged people who live in group homes?

If they live in group homes, they're hardly homeless.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on August 13, 2006, 12:03:27 AM
The post is "services for the homeless" but like other threads, I don't mind if it strays a bit. Maybe I'll split the thread into other topics.  We'll see where it goes.

As always, I'm glad to see the boards are being used.  Thanks for weighing in.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on August 13, 2006, 08:06:41 AM
CompCare serves the mentally ill homeless population in Hackensack and those in group homes.  However, as with the woman Tom Davies wrote about, who is now homeless again, there isn't much of a program for them.   She simply walked away to join her former friends on the street.   In defense of CompCare, there isn't much they can actually do legally to stop her because of her "rights." 

Many people assume the people sitting outside CompCare are homeless, but they are, like you said, residents of group homes.   Businesses have been persistent in their complaint about the homeless being a deterrent to shoppers, yet many people I talk with are rather surprised to learn that the people hanging out at Ward, State and Main are not homeless.   
Title: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on August 20, 2006, 11:01:20 AM
From Your Views in today's Record:

Columnist Lawrence Aaron has been a perceptive observer of the homeless problem and a strong advocate for its resolution. He is correct that Bergen County has a long way to go in ending chronic homelessness ("Working toward a solution for the homeless," Other Views, Aug. 11).

However, the county has gone beyond the stage described by Aaron: two agencies meeting and plans for a 100-bed county shelter when there are 780 identified single homeless individuals.

For instance, Christ Church Community Development Corp. (CCCDC) is collaborating with the Englewood Housing Authority to place a minimum of 20 chronically disabled individuals in permanent housing through the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Shelter Plus Program. CCCDC will be providing supportive services to assist these individuals in making the transition. In addition, it is coordinating with Advance Housing, another non-profit agency, to help secure housing for other homeless people.

At the same time CCCDC is working with the county's Department of Human Services Comprehensive Emergency Assistance Committee to assure temporary refuge for those still without a permanent home. Moreover, the agency is providing counseling, case management and advocacy services for individuals and families at risk.

CCCDC is only one of a number of social services organizations that have taken on the challenge of homelessness. The problem isn't easily eliminated. But if government, not-for-profits, business, citizens and clients pull together we can, as Aaron observes, make a difference and reclaim lives as well as our spirit of community brotherhood.

Benjamin Greenspan
Hackensack, Aug. 16
The writer is executive director of the CCCDC
Title: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on August 21, 2006, 09:19:52 AM
Latest story:  Shelter project already paying off for party donors (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2OTc5NjY2)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on October 25, 2006, 10:25:55 AM
Latest story:  Difficult winter looms for dozens of homeless (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MDA5OTY5)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on November 10, 2006, 10:15:57 AM
Latest story:  Bergen clearing shelter site (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MDE3NTc1)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on November 22, 2006, 03:18:07 PM
Latest story: Another tough break for Bergen's homeless (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkxNCZmZ2JlbDdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5NzAyMjQzMQ==)

[Post modified by Editor.  Sorry I missed this article.  We can't reprint full articles here due to copyright issues.  We can only link to the source.  I deleted the full story and replaced it with a link].

Here's a related story:  Bergen clearing shelter site (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk0NSZmZ2JlbDdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5NzAxNjQ0NiZ5cmlyeTdmNzE3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTM=)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on November 26, 2006, 10:58:52 AM
From "Your Views" in today's Record.

Columnist Lawrence Aaron ("Another tough break for Bergen's homeless," Other Views, Nov. 17) raises our awareness about the crisis for homeless people in our community, especially those who are hardest to reach because of addictions or undertreated mental illnesses.

Aaron discusses Peter's Place at Christ Church in Hackensack. Peter's Place provides more than 40 percent of the available beds for Bergen County's homeless during the winter, including the only ones available without restrictions. It is threatened with closure for at least apart of the winter due to the potential loss of a Community Development Block Grant that we have received for a decade. The reason: The Hackensack City Council refuses to provide the required endorsement.

Several points need clarification.

Aaron suggests that we simply replace public funds with private donations. The Episcopal Diocese of Newark has provided an average of $25,000 each year, over $250,000 since Peter's Place opened. Trinity Church in New York, Episcopal Relief and Development and Central Presbyterian Church in Summit have given multiyear grants of $100,000 or more. Many houses of worship, businesses, community groups and individual donors contribute generously to Peter's Place. Most important, hundreds of faithful volunteers help us keep our costs at a minimum.

Aaron suggests that we have duped the city officials regarding our acquisition of the Social Security Administration building on Sussex Street, which the federal government has awarded us for $1. Hackensack was the first to be notified of its availability and apparently did nothing.

When the new city administration expressed concern, we met with then-Mayor Marlin Townes and Councilman Jorge Meneses to assure them of our readiness to work with city and county officials to determine how we might best use the building.

We continue to expand our pool of private donors, but we, like most charitable organizations, count on public funding. Our effort to secure alternative funds does not change the fact that, with the stroke of a pen, the Hackensack City Council can release $46,000 in federal funding. City protests that Hackensack bears too great a burden do not change the fact that 60 percent of our guests were residents of Hackensack when they became homeless.

The promise of a new 100-bed shelter does not change the fact that in April there were 780 homeless adults in Bergen County (up 42.8 percent from last year), plus another 218 adults and 389 children in homeless families.

Aaron is correct that we all need to do more. If each of us were to spend a night on the street, perhaps we would be more motivated to act on behalf of those who have no other option.

We stand ready to work with elected officials, the business community and our partner organizations to find solutions to end homelessness.

William C. Parnell
Hackensack, Nov. 20

The writer is rector of Christ Church and president of Christ Church Community Development Corp.

I want to commend Lawrence Aaron for his column on the indifference of Hackensack to the homeless ("Another tough break for Bergen's homeless," Other Views, Nov. 17).

Because the city will not approve a $46,000 block grant, Peter's Place at Christ Church in Hackensack must close down for the winter beginning Dec. 31. Winter is approaching. I wonder where these people will find warmth and comfort.

I commend also the Interreligious Fellowship for helping to raise funds to feed and shelter the homeless. I recently read that it is sponsoring a concert to benefit the homeless in Bergen.

I don't want to read articles identifying homeless victims of winter dying in the streets or by the Hackensack River. Construction of a 100-bed shelter is just not moving fast enough to save some very needy souls.

Roselyn Altman
Hackensack, Nov. 20

I have a problem with Lawrence Aaron characterization of Hackensack's "haphazard homeless shelter scheme" ("Another tough break for Bergen's homeless," Other Views, Nov. 17).

This is not a city problem and should not be described as such. Many of the homeless in Hackensack are not former Hackensack residents. They are now, by virtue of the clustering of all homeless problems in the city.

Before homeless shelters existed, Hackensack was a target for the homeless due to being the only town in the county with a 24-hour bus terminal. I can attest to this. When I was a police officer in Hackensack, we would catch police from neighboring towns "delivering" them to the bus terminal in the wee hours of the morning. The homeless would then roam the already struggling business district, causing problems for the already dwindling shoppers and merchants.

Now Christ Church is attempting to bring it full circle by trying to operate a homeless shelter one block from Main Street and the Justice Complex. Where will the homeless be during the day? Right back on Main Street.

Aaron describes the homeless as "unfortunate." However, my experience indicates most either have contributed to their situations or are people with mental illness and were hospitalized before the concept of "community mental health" was born.

Hackensack has suffered enough as a "victim" of the homeless problem. One solution would be for the county to make up the shortfall of funding for Peter's Place. This could be accomplished by diverting money spent putting signs with the county executive's name on everything owned by the county and giving it to Peter's Place.

Robert J. Doherty
River Edge, Nov. 17
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on December 22, 2006, 09:44:28 AM
Latest story:  Homeless receive 1,000 backpacks of winter essentials (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MDQyMTQ2)
Title: Salvation Army Fire
Post by: Editor on January 11, 2007, 08:53:16 AM
Latest story:  Homeless man severely injured in mattress fire (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MDU1MTYx)
Title: Peter's Place to reopen
Post by: Editor on January 16, 2007, 09:41:41 AM
Latest story:  Struggling homeless shelter set to reopen (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MDU5MDU4)
Title: Homeless Survey
Post by: Editor on January 26, 2007, 10:08:10 AM
Latest story:  Survey of homeless required for U.S. aid (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MDY1MTI0)
Title: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on February 01, 2007, 11:43:30 AM
Latest story: 'Adored' homeless man dies from burns (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MDY4OTI2)
Title: Services for the homeless
Post by: Editor on February 04, 2007, 10:08:14 AM
Latest story: Another death, another statistic (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk5JmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MDY5NzIx)
Title: Salvation Army/Services for the homeless
Post by: Editor on February 10, 2007, 12:07:19 PM
Latest story:  Salvation Army will sell its old building (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MDc0MTUy)
Title: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on February 11, 2007, 10:03:02 AM
From today's "Your Views" in The Record:

It is sad to read about the needless death of a homeless individual ("'Adored' homeless man dies from burns," Page L-3, Feb. 1). In the last three years, more than a dozen of them have met their end prematurely. But to insinuate that this particular tragedy could have been avoided had Peter's Place homeless shelter not been closed for renovations, as your article implies, is incorrect from two perspectives.

First, it was said that the victim "had been living on city streets for more than 10 years." If so, the shelter would not have been of help. Second, Peter's Place was closed because the Hackensack City Council refused to approve U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds that had been awarded to it by the Bergen County Division of Community Development. In the past when Christ Episcopal Church in Hackensack could not for a short period accommodate Peter's Place, the shelter temporarily relocated to another church.

Thanks to public and government support, Peter's Place is now open and providing a safe haven for the county's homeless adults. At the same time, it is working in tandem with Next Step (its agency partner) to end homelessness by placing the undomiciled in their own apartments. Last year, it found apartments for 29 such individuals. Can you think of a more fitting tribute to memorialize those homeless who died from lack of compassion?

Ben Greenspan
Hackensack, Feb. 5
The writer is executive director of Christ Church Community Development Corp.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on February 11, 2007, 08:04:31 PM
There were two other very insightful letters in the Record today as well. 

Title: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on February 11, 2007, 08:16:47 PM
Other letters in today's "Your Views".  I search for the word "Hackensack" in North Jersey Media every day.  Sometimes, a story or letter will be about Hackensack and not even mention the name of the City.  That's what happened here.  Thanks for telling me.

Regarding "Today's focus is on helping the homeless" (Page L-8, Jan. 25):

I volunteered with the various social service agencies in Bergen County to help with the Point-in-Time surveys for homeless individuals.

Many of us have difficulty understanding how this predicament happens. We all have connections -- family, jobs, friends, or some outside group -- that would throw us a line if needed. Interviewing some of the homeless at Faith Foundation, I discovered many individuals ranging in age from 30 to 60 are alone and have no such connections. How did this happen?

The story of a woman I interviewed is instructive. At one time, she was a nurse. Unfortunately, breast cancer and epilepsy affected her ability to continue in her career. Her family could not handle her illness and was embarrassed by the epileptic occurrences. She was asked to leave the family home; abandonment by family, especially a mother, seems incomprehensible to me. No safety net for this courageous woman.

One of the questions asked on the survey was, "Where will you sleep tonight?" Here are some of the answers: "Don't know," "In a tent," "A friend's house."

Another question was "What funds are you receiving?" Some answers: Medicare, SSI, disability. Many answered, "No monetary support."

A question that really demonstrated the seriousness and pervasiveness of homelessness was, "How long have you been homeless?" The answers ranged from one month to more than a year, which was the response of seven.

What can be done? Let's think outside the box. I believe shared housing where formerly homeless people can help each other, one can cook, another clean, one does gardening, shopping or driving -- community shelter -- is the answer. Where can that be? Government must find the answer. Cities and communities must work together and find a solution.

Don't take dignity away from these forgotten people. Give them back their lives.

Roselyn Altman
Maywood, Jan. 25
The writer is social action chair of the Reconstructionist Temple Beth Israel in Maywood.
Columnist Mike Kelly's "Another death, another statistic (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk5JmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MDY5NzIx)" (Opinion, Page O-1, Feb. 4) was heart-wrenching.

I vividly recall the street bums of the '40s and '50s in my hometown of Paterson: never violent, never pushy; just people without homes and almost embarrassed to ask for anything. On the other side, the kids and young adults at that time would never think of beating or hurting the vagrants.

These forgotten people today may be out of sight, out of mind. But they are here.

Some questions:

# Why are there so many street vagrants?

# Why do many homeless refuse to accept meaningful and long-term assistance?

# Why is our youth today so violent and hurtful towards the homeless?

# Why, since the government 40 years ago tried to solve the vagrancy problem, has the problem gotten worse? Or to put it a nicer way, how come government agencies, set up and funded to assist the homeless, have failed while money continues to be channeled into meaningless programs?

# Why have intervention and institutionalization with professional medical assistance and counseling not been continued?

# Why have the very successful religious-based programs, with therapies of love, hope and common sense by people who care, not been funded sufficiently by the private sector to expand rehabilitation programs that work?

# If government can open queuing areas for illegal immigrants who want to work, why can't it set up public buildings for street people/homeless to spend the night on either warm or cold nights?

# Why do we as a society not demand punishment for those who violate the laws: kids who assault or homeless who disrupt?

Jerry Bello Sr.
Wayne, Feb. 4
Title: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on February 13, 2007, 12:15:01 PM
Latest story: Hackensack tenants get more time to move (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MDc2NjQ5)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on April 10, 2007, 08:48:01 AM

"By 2004, at least a third of mortgages issued in nearly all of Paterson and Passaic were subprime. In much of Haledon and Prospect Park, between 22 and 33 percent of home loans were untraditional. And 16 to 22 percent of loans were subprime in stretches of Clifton, Lodi and Garfield.

The easy availability of money -- and profits from the loans' high interest rates -- led to abuses. National fraud reports for mortgages increased by 1,411 percent between 1997 and 2005, totaling almost 83,000 during the period, the federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network found. In the first three months of 2006, cases were up by more than a third from the previous year.

About two-thirds of frauds were due to misstated documentation of a borrower's ability to afford a loan. Even the properly executed ones were not in many homeowners' best interest, as the products came with suddenly increasing interest rates. Eventually, many of these mortgages overburden homeowners.

"You might as well have handed someone a ticking time bomb," said Schloemer, of Responsible Lending.

At the end of 2006, about 13 percent of subprime loans in New Jersey were past due, according to a Mortgage Bankers Association survey. Mary Johnson of Consumer Credit Counseling Services of New Jersey, a Cedar Knolls nonprofit that sees 3,000local clients annually, says her agency is pressed to help those on the brink of foreclosure.

"We are dealing with people who are living in their cars," Johnson said. Her agency refers these clients to homeless services, but Johnson has found that the programs are too overwhelmed to provide relief. "

My husband and I had been urged by neighbors, relatives, co-workers, friends to get one of these creative mortgages about four years ago.   Our bottom line was that if we couldn't afford it, we couldn't afford it, and that there HAD to be a time down the road when any creative mortgate would catch up.  To think that the pursuit of the American Dream has led to an increase in the homeless population is quite ironic.

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on July 25, 2007, 08:27:50 AM
Latest story:  Homeless still rely on kindess of strangers (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk5JmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MTczNjkw)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on August 19, 2007, 10:10:06 PM
Latest story:  Homeless, but far from friendless (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MTgzOTY5)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on August 21, 2007, 08:52:04 AM
Record Editorial:  We can fix ailing bridges, but what about ailing souls? (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk5JmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MTg0NDM1)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on September 01, 2007, 09:33:45 AM
Some individual homeless people can be "saved" via heroic efforts, but the problem of homeless nationally is not going to be solved. Not anytime soon, the nation is heading 100% in the wrong direction.

The homeless debate is also completely off course.  It's NOT about housing, it's NOT about creating more beds for the homeless, and it's NOT about jobs.  This is a CULTURE WAR ISSUE. What the homeless debate should be about is the cultural and spiritual rot in this country.  Many of the mentally ill are afflicted with mental illness because they can't cope with all the greed and selfishness in our society, and how everyone is just out for themselves.  And that is why they are homeless or turn to substance abuse.

We don't have any kind of value system in this country that is neutral with respect to all established religions, and that could form the fabric of society.  We don't have a fabric of society in this country any more, it's everyone for themselves, and America's celebrities and popular culture is leading the way.  Some people can succeed in this environment, others can get by, but some turn to alcohol and become mentally ill.  I love the USA more than anything, and nothing would make me happier than to see a reversal in the direction we are heading

Wake up folks, things aren't going to get any better, with the media, celebrities, and popular culture are leading us further and further astray from where we need to be.  We now have a society in which only the "type A" personality can survive.  And if the Editor wants to ridicule this observation, and post a picture of a bumbling Sheriff's Deputy from Mayberry, go ahead and do it. 

Things may have been a lot simpler back then, and it's very unfortunate that women and minorities didn't have the rights that they deserved, but other than that things were better then. Someone like Barney Fyfe could get by, and even secure a job that he didn't deserve. In  our modern society Barney Fyfe would be a homeless man.  He simply wouldn't make it.  How sad.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on October 12, 2007, 10:01:27 AM
Latest story:  Many struggle to survive in Bergen County (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MjA2NjY2)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on December 23, 2007, 10:20:51 AM
Latest story: Annual count of homeless questioned (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkzJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk3MjM3MzUy)

The initial plan for Bergen County's new homeless shelter, set to open in late 2008, called for 75 permanent and 25 temporary beds. Now there will be 62 permanent and 30 to 40 temporary beds.

"The needs have changed," said Brian Hague, a Bergen County spokesman. "We always knew it was going to be a one-stop facility but it was how you're going to divvy all of the services up that we needed to determine."
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on December 25, 2007, 11:04:48 AM
Precious gifts - Editorial (http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkxNCZmZ2JlbDdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5NzIzNzc0NA==)

Record Photographer Danielle P. Richards recently asked the clients and staff of FAITH Foun- dation, the homeless advocacy group based in Hackensack, to reflect on their most treasured gifts.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on January 10, 2008, 07:22:00 PM
The author of the following Letter to the Editor (no relation to me) is a perfect of example of what is wrong with the mental health business when it comes to the chronically homeless.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Regarding Columnist Mike Kelly's "Homeless apartment plan is a shortsighted idea" (Opinion, Page O-1, Dec. 30), on housing for the homeless suffering from substance abuse and mental problems:

Have you ever had to move? Many people experience the moving process as unsettling and stressful. They find themselves becoming cranky, forgetful and much more interested in that scotch and soda after a day of packing.

Homelessness is all these things writ large, and then some. As a psychotherapist in private practice in Ridgewood, I have many times watched homeless people's psychiatric symptoms and/or substance abuse "magically" remit when they find a safe place to live.

Homelessness is a classic chicken/egg phenomenon. Please try to imagine how you would start to feel and behave if you really, truly had nowhere to live.

"Housing First" works: It saves money and it saves lives. There is mounting statistical evidence regarding its efficacy in a number of states. Furthermore, historical anthropology has evidenced that the longevity of nation-states is predicated on their response to vulnerability.

Susan Donnelly

Ridgewood, Jan. 2

The writer is a licensed clinical social worker.

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on January 29, 2008, 11:54:52 AM
Homeless offered flu shots, haircuts (http://www.northjersey.com/food/wineandbeer/14628372.html)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Anthony on February 09, 2008, 04:26:21 PM
Has anyone noticed a homeless person's campsite complete with a tent and several clothes lines at the northern most part of Johnson Avenue (beginning of Kinderkermack Road)?  The campsite is set back about 15 feet from the road just behind the northern most point of the Bergen County Police/DPW fenced in yard.  It's easier to see if you are heading south on Kinderkermack into Hackensack.  Not sure if this is county property or Hackensack property, nevertheless it's heartbreaking to see.  Is there anything that can be done to help this person?
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on February 10, 2008, 12:16:40 PM
That's an easy one. It's the same answer as all homeless: 

"ROUND 'EM UP, SORT 'EM OUT."  Those with outstanding arrest warrants go to jail, those with mental illness or alcoholism go to (should go to) Bergen Regional, those that want to be helped to find jobs and housing go to the County Shelter on Kansas Street, and those that are defiantly homeless and/or refuse the rules at the County shelter go to Peters Place. 

None should be left sleeping on the banks of Coles Brook, or anywhere else outside on a cold winter night.  Homelessness is not a civil right.

Probably more homeless should be at Bergen Regional, but our Democratic County politicians who say they want to help the homeless simply don't want to pay for their treatment at Bergen Regional. It's cheaper for them to wander the streets around the Courthouse, and report at night and meal-time to the homeless shelter. And soon they'll have a bigger shelter to report to next to the jail. 

And does everyone see how that building is being built with steel I-beams instead of wood-frame construction. Some contractor is really sucking the County taxpayer dry on that design.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on February 17, 2008, 09:46:38 AM
Aaron: More cold nights for homeless (http://www.northjersey.com/opinion/moreviews/15710977.html)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on February 28, 2008, 10:31:27 PM
Today's Record: Temporary apartments for homeless get makeover (http://www.northjersey.com/news/bergenpolitics/A_cleaner_transition.html)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on March 14, 2008, 09:02:28 AM
Today's Record: Salvation Army razing old home (http://www.northjersey.com/news/charitywatch/Salvation_Army_razing_old_home.html?c=y&page=1)

Problems at 89 State St.
Friday, March 14, 2008
[From today's Record]

Aug. 10, 2003 -- Hackensack code officials close the building after 50 ceiling tiles fall. Rather than fix the problem immediately, the Salvation Army says it will proceed with a scheduled $1.5 million renovation project.

November 2005 -- Renovation plans fall apart after structural damage is found. The Salvation Army submits plans to the city to demolish the building and construct a new one in its place.

November 2006 -- City inspectors cite the Salvation Army for not securing the building.

Jan. 10, 2007 -- Michael Johnson, a homeless man living in the building, is severely burned after he accidentally ignites his mattress with a cigarette. He dies three weeks later.

Feb. 9, 2007 -- The Salvation Army says it will put the building up for sale, saying city codes would not allow the organization to rebuild on the site.

August 2007 -- The Salvation Army decides again to demolish the building after appraisals of the building's value come back low.

Feb. 11 -- City housing inspectors issue a summons for "failure to maintain a vacant structure."

Feb. 25 -- Demolition begins.

Aug. 10, 2003 -- Hackensack code officials close the building after 50 ceiling tiles fall. Rather than fix the problem immediately, the Salvation Army says it will proceed with a scheduled $1.5 million renovation project.

November 2005 -- Renovation plans fall apart after structural damage is found. The Salvation Army submits plans to the city to demolish the building and construct a new one in its place.

November 2006 -- City inspectors cite the Salvation Army for not securing the building.

Jan. 10, 2007 -- Michael Johnson, a homeless man living in the building, is severely burned after he accidentally ignites his mattress with a cigarette. He dies three weeks later.

Feb. 9, 2007 -- The Salvation Army says it will put the building up for sale, saying city codes would not allow the organization to rebuild on the site.

August 2007 -- The Salvation Army decides again to demolish the building after appraisals of the building's value come back low.

Feb. 11 -- City housing inspectors issue a summons for "failure to maintain a vacant structure."

Feb. 25 -- Demolition begins.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on March 14, 2008, 06:04:10 PM
Let's hope that the building is sold and that a taxpaying ratable will be constructed there.  Usually a vacant lot is a bad thing, but not this time.  Better to have a vacant lot than a squatters residence, drug den, and God knows what else.  I'll take a vacant lot over what was there any time
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on March 24, 2008, 09:23:17 AM
The apartments at 40 Passaic were pretty inside to begin with.  Pest experts say that ripping up flooring really doesn't do the job - that polyurethaning the floors and into the seams by woodwork does - so this might be a recurring problem once furniture is unpacked and tenants move in. 
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on April 07, 2008, 09:08:50 AM
Today's Record:
Redesigning the lives of the homeless (http://www.northjersey.com/news/intriguingpeople/Redesigning_the_lives_of_the_homeless.html)

Watch the video (http://www.northjersey.com/multimedia/video/17305549.html)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on April 08, 2008, 06:38:47 PM
Hackensack says storefront can't shelter homeless (http://www.northjersey.com/news/17377624.html)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on April 09, 2008, 06:28:19 PM
Well, it's time for someone to step up to the plate and give Robin Reilly another job caring for the homeless.  Perhaps the County or some private organization. And if she takes a position helping the homeless in some other County, that's fine too.  Could you imagine how many homeless would be herding towards Paterson if she took a position there.  Hackensack would lose half its homeless.

Even her critics (I am one of them) readily admit that she is dedicated to her mission.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on April 09, 2008, 11:27:08 PM
Something happened that has nothing to do with the fact that she was operating a drop-in center in a retail space, and the story will likely come out, not right away, but it will.  The city approved a block grant for FAITH only two years ago, and the situation was no different then than it is now. Those grants are very difficult to earn.

It would be great if each town could come up with a way to take care of its own, but until they do, the homeless will be deposited to Hackensack.  When laws change that "protect the rights" of the mentally ill, then perhaps those who cannot make informed decisions on their own behalf will be taken care of and not discarded, the way they are now, not only by society, but by the very agencies who receive tax dollars to do so.  When the child "welfare" agencies clean up their act, then you will see a decline in homeless populations everywhere.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on April 10, 2008, 10:22:37 PM
Here's a quote from 19th century philosopher and successful businessman Wallace D. Wattles:

 "Do not spend your time in so-called charitable work or charity movements; most charity only tends to perpetuate the wretchedness it aims to eradicate. I do not say that you should be hard-hearted or unkind and refuse to hear the cry of need, but you must not try to eradicate poverty in any of the conventional ways...The poor do not need charity; they need inspiration.  Charity only sends them a loaf of bread to keep them alive in their wretchedness, or gives them an entertainment to make them forget for an hour or two. But inspiration can cause them to rise out of their misery. If you want to help the poor, demonstrate to them that the can become rich.  Prove it by getting rich yourself. The only way in which poverty will ever be banished from this world is by getting a large and constantly increasing number of people to practice the teachings of this book".

Interesting food for thought. I'm sure more than a few people will choke on it. I'm reading his book right now. I don't agree with everything in it, especially his beliefs regarding science and the power of human thought, but he does put an interesting perspective in some modern problems.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on April 11, 2008, 10:04:22 AM
Isn't he the New Thought author and philosopher, the same guy Rhonda Byrne plagiarized?

Anyone who has studied the history of social services, poverty and mental illness knows that the poor and otherwise afflicted have been viewed as slightly better than lepers, not only in the US but for centuries in Europe.  They cost money to care for, which is why poverty levels are often set very low, so that they don't qualify.

I would like to see how Wattles inspires a schizophrenic whose parents are poor and mentally ill themselves.  Wattles, if he is the same guy, opines that a person's situation is created by their thoughts.  Makes me think of one homeless guy I know in Hackensack who has a PhD and used to be a professor at NYU until full-blown schizophrenia manifested in his late 30s.   Every now and then he could quote any number of authors - Shakespeare, Robert Frost, etc. - but couldn't remember his own name.  Did he run out of inspiration and decide to be homeless?  No family, no ability to make his own decisions, which is required of mentally ill people as judges are fearful of committing them, he is now homeless. 

Taxpayers should go visit Orchard Street during dinner hour and see if they can inspire those who are talking to themselves, paranoid and picking fights, and delusional (and these are the ones CAP hasn't banned!).  How about the elderly women who look like anyone's grandma, who are scared to death 24/7, yet so far have found no housing and few consistent services?

The media loves to spotlight the few who appear to have some resources within.  It is a great way to sway popular opinion about the homeless and where tax dollars go.  Taxpayers should go undercover and experience the abuses, waste and corruption in any of the tax-paid social service programs, police departments and hospitals if they really want to get inspired. 
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on April 11, 2008, 06:56:15 PM
Of course there are multiple different types of homeless, and your point is well taken.  I bet that Wattles would also have been against FDR and the New Deal, had he lived long enough to experience that era.

Remember that homeless guy that made himself famous stinking up the library in Morristown, NJ about 15 years ago.  That's the type of homeless person that Wattles is probably referring to. That guy in Morristown (Kreimer ?) just didn't want to work and just didn't want any responsibility.  He was educated and intelligent and made himself a spokesperson. A small percent of the homeless are of this stereotype.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on April 12, 2008, 06:15:02 PM
Wattles was referring to everyone, not just a particular group - this is the guy Rhonda Byrne plagiarized with The Secret. 

The homeless are a microcosm of the entire population.  For instance, the guy in Morristown is the homeless version  of any slacker, like my current boss, who relies on others to get her work done while she collects a paycheck.  There are very kind, sweet, hard-working homeless people, violent ones, pedophiles, caretakers, elderly, many who are not addicted or alcoholic, and many who are.  The one thing I have found is that they don't hide behind facades - no suits, uniforms, etc. - you know you're dealing with a crazy person, a felon, a pedophile, and even a con artist.  The same can't be said for the same people who are "gainfully employed" and doing well.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on April 13, 2008, 04:34:20 PM
I did some investigating into "The Secret" because 2 people have recently suggested that I read the book.

It turns out that Rhonda Byrne credits Wattles' 1910 book with giving her inspiration.  The charges of plaguerism are flying all through the internet. Most of the charges are focussed on evidence that she has copied her work from Christian theorist Norman Vincent Peale's book "The Power of Positive Thinking", but she took out all the God references and made a New Age version of Peale's work.

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2007/mar/24/bthornb-the-secret-has-a-very-familiar-ring/ (http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2007/mar/24/bthornb-the-secret-has-a-very-familiar-ring/)

And there's another author who is also crying plaguerism, which is Vanessa J. Bonnette.  She seems to have less evidence.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on April 14, 2008, 09:10:25 AM
Gotta have FAITH (http://www.northjersey.com/opinion/editorials/17651684.html)

Kelly: Mission of 'boutique' proved too unfashionable
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on April 15, 2008, 11:44:43 AM
Homeless 'boutique' closes (http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-10/120823418860940.xml&coll=1)

Haven for street people closes (http://www.northjersey.com/towns/Haven_for_street_people_closes.html)

Star Ledger Video (http://videos.nj.com/star-ledger/2008/04/faith_foundation_closes.html)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on April 22, 2008, 09:53:25 PM
Aaron: One less avenue for those hoping to help (http://www.northjersey.com/opinion/moreviews/17951329.html?c=y&page=1)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on April 23, 2008, 09:10:45 AM
I think it's objectionable that The Record reporters, editorialists, and columnists are portraying the administration in Hackensack as anything less than the good-hearted civic-minded persons that they are. Hackensack officials have made the correct decision to enforce the codes, and to advance economic development on State Street which is in the best interests of the neighborhood, the city, and to all city taxpayers.  I have to post it here, because The Record refuses to post my reader comments at the end of their articles.

Yes, Robin Reilly does good work. Since the rest of the homeless advocacy community respects her work, she'll have no problem getting a position at another agency, public or private, to continue her mission in life. That might be in Hackensack, or it could be somewhere outside of Bergen County entirely. If she reads "The Secret", she'll know that this is true. I picked up my own copy of "The Secret". It is not a continuation of Wattles' thinking, and it is well worth reading for anyone who feels they have a mission in life. Reilly has a mission in life, as do I.  I would love to see Robin Reilly implement her mission in some big city setting where she could help so many more people.  She could help 100 times as many people than she could in Hackensack. In some ways, she's like a modern-day Mother Theresa.  God bless her, and may her good work continue somewhere, where it is most needed. As described in "The Secret", the thoughts of those in need will pull her to whatever destination that may be.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on May 11, 2008, 07:23:58 PM
Hackensack was right to close FAITH center (http://www.northjersey.com/news/bergenpolitics/18839034.html)
Title: Homeless Film
Post by: Editor on May 29, 2008, 02:41:23 PM
Film director to unveil documentary on Hackensack's homeless (http://www.northjersey.com/betterliving/Film_director_to_unveil_documentary_on_Hackensacks_homeless.html)

Thanks Bob.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on June 17, 2008, 08:55:47 AM
Aaron: Sad ending for homeless storefront (http://www.northjersey.com/opinion/moreviews/19951629.html)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on July 30, 2008, 10:38:34 AM
Federal funds sought for homeless (http://www.northjersey.com/news/northernnj/Federal_funds_sought_for_homeless.html)

Bergen had the most homeless adults in the state with 1,023 that day. It was the second annual count by the group, which promotes affordable housing.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on August 25, 2008, 10:37:48 AM
Schoonmaker: Bergen County's invisible inhabitants (http://www.northjersey.com/opinion/moreviews/26133754.html)

Breadth of services for Bergen County's homeless (http://www.northjersey.com/opinion/moreviews/27342449.html)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on December 03, 2008, 09:36:40 AM
Homeless in Hackensack: The gift of hope (part two) (http://www.coping-with-life.com/2008/12/homeless-in-hackensack-gift-of-hope.html)
(part one is in the reply post, below)
By Tom Davis
Dec. 2, 2008

While she has plenty of detractors, Robin Reilly of Hackensack, N.J. has hundreds of supporters. Many of them are homeless, obvious, who have followed her around for years, and they know that wherever she is, their chances of getting food, guidance and a sense of morality have improved.

Reilly can accommodate, too, because she understands the importance of being politically savvy. That’s comes from her experience working with local hospitals and serving in the health care industry, where she learned that being a bull-in-the-china shop doesn’t necessarily phase the bureaucrats.

That’s why she invited city officials (none of them came) to join her during a service at the First Reformed Church on Court Street, just days before the Oct. 23 opening, to remember about 70 people who died since Reilly left her job as an interior designer at medical facilities to become a full-time advocate for the homeless..

At the event, Reilly faced about 75 other homeless advocates and people without a home – many of them mentally ill or substance abusers, nearly all of whom refused care at the county homeless shelters. They raised their hands during an invocation, hushed their mumbling voices and waited for Reilly to speak.

"Welcome my friends, your prayers have been answered," she told them. "We are one again."

Church members beamed as Reilly declared that the new site at the 300-year-old church will give the homeless a place to eat a snack and get regular health checkups.

"We are trying to help those in need," Ted Kallinikos, a church elder, told The Record of Bergen County, N.J. "We're trying to do what's right for the community

It will be open only from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; and no one will be allowed to sleep there (wink, wink, Reilly says). But it will be a 5-hour respite for the homeless who have been sleeping in abandoned lots and buildings, and in vacant lots with overgrown weeds on 10-degree days, and find themselves at Hackensack University Medical Center with their toes ready to fall off because of frostbite.

The Rev. Tim Eppolito, the pastor of Faith Reformed Church in Lodi, a sister church, said the decision to provide space was easy – without fear or remorse that they, too, may have joined the hit list that Reilly believes some Hackensack officials and police officers have conjured up and plans to use against friends of Reilly whenever necessary.

"As a non-profit organization, we minister to those who are less fortunate," Eppolito told The Record of Bergen County, N.J., who recited passages from Jeremiah in the Bible about "seeking the prosperity of the city."

For Reilly, smoothness is a rare commodity – especially when you’ve been bounced around as many times as she has. But the church ceremony was exactly what dreamed of as she fussed over paper napkins and place settings two weeks earlier. It was solemn, it was sweet, and it was successful. There was a solemn service where people tossed roses into the Hackensack River in honor of the homeless who have died.

And it was capped by Reilly recalling those who died, as well as their nicknames and clothing attire.

Later, she remembered 2001, when she shared a moment with Jerry Flanagan, a homeless person who died soon after she packed things up in her office at the Salvation Army in Hackensack. She was moving out after using the spot for the summer, and once again planned to take her homeless advocacy directly to the streets.

In that location, at the Salvation Army at 89 State St., she operated out of a 12-by-20-foot office and provided assistance to more than 1,100 homeless and poor people. She attracted the same of legion of followers who came to cry on her shoulder or sleep on a couch, back when she was an administrator at Peter’s Place and before she was fired from there, for a few hours to sober up. In just a few months, she referred hundreds of clients to hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and employers.

"I'm not working for anyone right now. I'm working for God," Reilly said at the time as she packed furniture, a sewing machine, and cans of food. Several homeless people watched, and they hugged her when she grew misty-eyed.

That time, the departure was amicable. Seven months earlier, she was fired by Peter's Place, a privately run, 25-bed shelter at Christ Episcopal Church on State Street. Reilly, who co-founded the shelter in the mid-1990s, attributed her departure to a policy dispute.

Reilly and Stephen Lyle, the commanding officer of the Salvation Army's Hackensack facility, said the two had a mutual agreement that she could use the office only on a temporary basis. But Lyle said the charitable agency needed the space for its fall programs. "Hopefully, she can find another place," he said at the time.

Already, Reilly had a plan. She would walk the streets and railroads and meet with homeless people at the Johnson Library on Main Street. She'd carry her cell phone in case she has to get assistance for them. The one thing Reilly wouldn’t do, she said, was quit.

Reilly was an interior designer who decorated medical facilities. Back then, she dabbled in homeless causes, and she was so moved by the people she met that she gave up her lucrative career to become a full-time advocate. When she worked at the Hackensack University Medical Center, she had an opportunity to see the problem, for the first time, up close.

She saw people with missing toes and thumbs hauled in on stretches quivering after spending the night in below freezing temperatures. She saw them arrive with no one standing by them as they were hauled off the ambulances or wheeled in on wheelchairs.

"I realized that I didn't want to pick out desks for doctors to make them feel better. I realized this was a lot more important," she once said. "It's an unglamorous job, but it's the most rewarding job of my life."

It was then that Reilly sought opportunities to help. But she didn’t want to just, as was suggested by hospital staff, “stuff envelopes.”

“I said, ‘No, I want to be out with the people,’” Reilly said.

As she packed the last of her boxes and bid her followers goodbye at the Salvation Army in 2001, for instance – just months before she would settle in at her State Street location –Reilly's followers crowded her office. Her desk was already gone, which freed up some room for people to sit. One man, Darryl, fiddled with a computer that he helped put together so Reilly could compile statistics. He also played harmonica, getting other clients to stomp their feet as he played away.

That summer alone, she collected more than $3,000 in donations from businesses, civic organizations, and schools, she said. But that money was all spent to buy medication and provide transportation for her clients.

"It's the kind of job where you get to be exhausted, but you say, 'Damn it, I've helped somebody,'" Reilly said at the time. "You look in the mirror and feel good at night."

After she left, Reilly said, she traveled to 178th Street in Manhattan to persuade a former client to give up prostitution. She did not succeed, but Reilly gave the woman a meal before she left. Since then, Reilly said, she has returned there and assisted other former clients whom she worries are "dying" on the Manhattan streets.

Some stayed; others followed her to State Street, and helped drag the ratty old couch with them that people sat on at Peter’s Place and the Salvation Army so they could “rest” at the State Street storefront. Hey, when you’ve been up three straight nights, afraid to fall asleep in the cold, what do you do?

Reilly called the State Street place a boutique store, and there was a collection of old lamps, lights and furniture that people dropped off, with price tags attached to them. She even had an employee to help out. But within months after the place opened, the boutiques never moved.

The cops started to notice, and began questioning her motives. Still there was plenty of “wink-winking” going on, she said. She had an ally in Hackensack Mayor John “Jack” Zisa, who saw her efforts as the one effective way to keep homeless off-the-streets. He looked the other way until he decided not to run in 2005; from there, things went downhill.

"She is one of the most sincere, if not the most sincere, homeless advocate I've ever met in my life," Zisa once said. "She works endless hours helping people."

Then, Reilly said, she was willing to "fight to the death" to protect the homeless. It was the same kind of relentlessness that contributed to her departure from Peter's Place: She said she let a woman sleep on a bench at the facility even though she was ordered not to.

Now the relentlessness is back as she opens her place at the church. City officials may protest, but she’s hoping to find another ally again – before the cops and the code enforcement officials wake up again and give her hell.

That’s fine, she says. She’s in the business of extending lives, even if it’s just for another month, another week or another day.

One such life was a woman named Jacquie. She’s been to jail 30 times, but she’s better known for her scratchy, high-pitched voice, and her habit of going into dining places, eating a meal, and not being able to pay. She’s lived in dumpsters near the Bergen County Courthouse, where she was once raped.

Jacquie has schizophrenia, and she’s been in-and-out of psychiatric hospitals. She does well for a period of time before she finds herself back on the street again, left to fend for herself.

“That’s when she seeks me out,” Reilly said.

Two weeks before Reilly’s new place opened, Jacquie popped in at the First Reformed Church. Reilly was stunned; how did she even know about this place, Reilly thought. But Jacquie was always clever, and she has a habit of popping up out of nowhere.

Jacquie handed Reilly a card. “I love you,” it said. Reilly’s face quickly turned from shock to tearful glee. She’s literally pulled Jacquie out of those dumpsters. To get a card like this, she said, made it all seem worth it.

“They moved me in with a mission and that’s a miracle,” she said.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on December 03, 2008, 09:43:57 AM
Homeless in America: The gift of hope (part one) (http://www.coping-with-life.com/2008/11/homeless-in-america-gift-of-hope-part.html)
(part two is above)
By Tom Davis
Nov. 19, 2008

Robin Reilly knows she’s getting too old for this. A 66-year-old homeless advocate shouldn’t get so excited about anything, especially when every homeless shelter she’s operated in Hackensack, N.J. has been closed because of code violations and run-ins with city officials, police and other homeless advocates. She’s thinks just like the people she pulls out of the alleys and gutters and tries to help. Don’t get your hopes too high, she says, because the disappointment will be worse.

But there she was on a warm October day in Hackensack, scrubbing the burners and wiping off the insides of a large commercial oven in the kitchen of her next new “place.” Her husband was setting up cans in the cabinets, wiping off the counter tops and checking the refrigerator to see if it had any, in his words, “funny smells.”

Out in the dining area of the 300-year-old First Reformed Church, Reilly set up table clothes and worried about place settings. She fussed over dirt on the floor and having visitors see this. “Oh no!” she said as she rubbed the spots with a dish towel.

When she was reminded that her new three-day-a-week homeless outreach center wasn’t set to open for another two weeks, Reilly had to stop and – as she did every so often – lean against a counter or sit in her chair, and collect herself. She held her stomach and her waist – a much smaller waist than what she had in June, because she lost 10 pounds from “worrying.”

Then she winced. “I’m so excited, I’m shaking. I’m sick about this,” said Reilly.

This could be it, she says. It could be the end of yet another stint as “a homeless advocate without a home,” as she’s called herself every time she’s been forced to look for new digs for her posse of homeless people in Hackensack who rely on Reilly for care. They’re people who are usually too drunk, mentally ill or drugged up to get into the local county shelters. Many of them don’t last long in life, unless Reilly is there with her safety net of care.

For three months, since she was booted from her last place on State Street, Reilly was riding around Hackensack, giving food and water and giving homeless people a chance to cool off from the heat by sitting in her car for as long as a half-hour, with the air conditioner on full-blast. One of her “lieutenants,” as she calls them, named “Coach” would scout the neighborhoods carrying a cell phone, looking for people who were wasting away. He’d call her, and then she’d drive 10 miles from her Oradell home in the north, and find them. Then she would usually drive somebody who was on their deathbed to the hospital to get medical assistance.

Most of them lived; some of them didn’t. Four died before Reilly was able to get to them this summer and give them assistance.

In the meantime, Reilly lost weight. “I’m sick – sick with worry,” she said. She never lost this much weight before, but she never worried so much about being without a place, because she thought this was really the end, finally.

She always thinks that way, she says. She always worries. Once she got a place, however, she got new worries about setting up a new service center. “I thought I was done,” she said. “I thought this was really it. I thought they really got me this time.”

She was thrown out of her last stop in June because, according to city officials, she was breaking the law by feeding homeless people on site. Sure, Reilly’s had to deal with this before. But this was perhaps the most traumatic closure she’s had to deal with yet. She had been at the State Street site in Hackensack for seven years, by far her longest stint. Usually, she lasts anywhere from three months to a couple years at any given place.

“I was cited for having people sitting on my couch with their eyes shut,” she said.

In came the people from the First Reformed Church, who gave her fourth place in a decade, and granted the space that finally opened to the public on Oct. 23. It’s the kind of place she’s been kicked out of before – an old church that’s part of the city establishment, where some members have been attending for 90 years. It’s the kind of place that’s given Reilly a chance in the past, such a church-based homeless shelter called “Peter’s Place” that employed Reilly as a homeless advocate nearly a decade ago. Usually, at these types of places, Reilly’s self-described demands to put the homeless first run afoul with management, and she finds herself out in the street again, pulling the homeless into her car.

This church, however, needed what it called “a mission,” and the mission was her.

The church’s blessing may not mean everything, however, because it’s the kind of place that could still make the city squeamish – and angry. She didn’t even bother to tell Hackensack officials what she was doing – not after the way they treated the last time, when they led her to believe they supported her “Faith Foundation” center, only to pull the plug in June and “use phony excuses to throw me out,” she said. This time, Reilly hoped city officials wouldn’t find out until the last minute. “I’d like to slap them in the face,” she said.

Reilly doesn’t mean to be angry, really. Other than the June flare-up, she had a good relationship with the city for as long as she’s been a homeless advocate. But having the cops throw her out in June in such an unceremonious way was so appalling and wrong, she says, that the resentment still lingers.

It brought out her aggressive spirit that has helped her prevail for so many years. It brought out a side of her that is only witnessed by people who stand in her way – such as Bergen County Community Action Program, the county homeless agency that she calls “a toothless bureaucracy” and, in her view, doesn’t do enough to help.

“If you’re strong, you’re strong, and no matter how many times you get knocked down, you get up, again and again,” she said.

Reilly doesn’t worry about her image, either, because she’s more than an advocate, she says. She’s a diplomat and an ambassador for a homeless population that numbers in the hundreds in Hackensack, largely because the city is the Bergen County seat and, therefore, offers county-sponsored welfare services. In public, she’s shown herself to be as sweet-as-pie, one who is no afraid to curry favor with the media and present herself as maybe the one person who actually makes an effort to take care of the homeless.

She’s been sad, too, when she’s had to eulogize fallen homeless veterans whom she cared for and nurtured and hoped that they would somehow find a way to rescue themselves.

Mostly, though, Reilly is a self-described “rebel,” and that’s what she’s most proud of. Rebels, she believes, make the best advocates. They don’t worry about what could happen to them, she says, because that kind of worry only impedes progress. They get things done because they’re not afraid of pissing people off, she says, and she’s done a lot of that.

Some of the people she’s cared for have died, but many more have lived. With her new place, she hopes to save hundreds more – at least that many – as long as she can stay on her feet, maintain good health and keep doing what she’s famous for in the Bergen County, N.J. area.

“My prayer to God was for him to tell me if he wanted me to continue my work and if he could open the door for me,” Reilly said. “It swung open.”

Indeed, despite the wide range of emotions she’s had in recent months, Reilly’s always been a big-picture person. Two weeks before the opening of the church mission’s day shelter for the homeless, she was getting more confident that this will finally be the place where she will finish her work as Hackensack’s chief homeless advocate, and pass on her legacy to the next selfless person who can care for a population that is among the largest in any city in New Jersey.

To Reilly, the big picture is this: Regardless of what happens, she’ll always have hundreds of homeless people, God and, perhaps, some people of influence on her side – all of them happy that she’s doing something to keep people off Hackensack’s streets. Keeping the big picture in mind, she’ll always land on her feet as long as she can keep a roof over other people’s heads.

Just look at her track record – particularly recently, she says. “Can you believe somebody still wants me?” she said.

Many homeless people come to Hackensack because its status as the Bergen County seat attracts various service agencies that help the needy. Advocates estimate that at any time there are 200 to 300 homeless people in the city, far more than the capacity of shelters.

Some of the homeless and poor, as a result, consider Reilly their guardian angel. Unlike the local county homeless agency, Bergen County Community Action Program, she takes people who are in every condition – drug addicted, alcoholic or on the brink of death.

"I don't like what they're doing to Robin. It's unfair, because I come here every day. When she's hurt, I'm hurt," Robert, a recovering alcoholic, told the Bergen Record in 2001.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on December 23, 2008, 09:59:58 AM
Today's Record:
Flare-up mars dinner for homeless
Monday, December 22, 2008
Last updated: Monday December 22, 2008, 7:17 AM

HACKENSACK — One hundred of Bergen County's homeless were treated to a Christmas dinner Sunday after listening to a 20-minute sermon that left a bad taste in the mouth of some of the organizers.

The chicken marsala and eggplant parm were fine, but a behind-the-scene disagreement over whether the food or the sermon would come first became a bone of contention that resulted in some temper flare-ups and hard feelings.

The FAITH Foundation had billed the standing-room gathering at First Reformed Church of Hackensack, the Church on the Green, as its annual Christmas party for the homeless, with donations of food, clothing, and gifts from area caterers, civic organizations and high school students. It wanted the chow line to open at 5 p.m.

"Some of them had not eaten in 24 hours," said Robin Reilly, the foundation's executive director.

The Rev. Timothy Ippolito, pastor at Faith Reformed Church in Lodi, said the event was a "worship service first and foremost for the community of Hackensack" and feeding for the "economically disadvantaged" would begin after the sermon, at one point telling the food servers to "drop" the utensils.

Rankled foundation volunteers accused the "outsiders" of trying to hijack their Christmas party.

"It took us seven months to plan this," said Euselpio Camacho, the foundation manager.

"We shoveled the sidewalk. We planned this since October," said Steve Schultz, a foundation volunteer.

Reilly said Ippolito threatened to call police if she interfered with the sermon, an accusation Ippolito acknowledged.

Reilly "sabotaged the agenda," said Ippolito, adding that he gave Reilly an "itinerary" for the night before the gathering and described Reilly as "another example of someone who likes to buck the system."

The foundation, a non-profit group that helps the homeless, operated a center for the homeless in downtown Hackensack that was closed by the city last June.

Since then, Reilly and volunteers have been operating out of cars, on the street, in abandoned buildings — helping the homeless with benefits and health care.

The Lodi church has held worship services at the Church on the Green for the past three years feeding the "soul and the stomach," said Mary Breen a Lodi church leader.

During the sermon, a homeless man named "Bob" suffered a seizure and collapsed. "I pray for this brother out on the floor … heal him," Ippolito said.

When tempers flared between a Church on the Green minister and a foundation volunteer in the back of the room, Ippolito — attempting to calm things — blurted, "Last time I checked it was Christmas."

One homeless man left early, saying he had high blood pressure and couldn't take the drama.

But visitors like Leon Varjian, a math teacher at Midland Park whose students contributed toiletries, said the cause was worthy.

"One of the things I'm thankful for is having gotten involved … I think it opens up the kids' eyes, that there are homeless in Bergen County," Varjian said.

"People literally have nowhere to live. … She's [Reilly is] doing a wonderful job."
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on December 27, 2008, 12:32:53 PM
Today's Record:  Homeless ranks climbing (http://www.northjersey.com/news/northernnj/homeless122608.html)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on December 29, 2008, 09:25:06 AM
Economy threatens cities' fights vs. homelessness
Yahoo News: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081229/ap_on_bi_ge/financial_meltdown_homeless

ATLANTA – Beneath the glowing red curlicues of the Coca-Cola headquarters sign, case worker Hylda Jackson bargains with one of Atlanta's left behind.

"Are you ready, right now, this morning?" she says, kneeling beside a white-bearded man.

Harry Byrd's rumpled form is enveloped by the odor of stale beer, even before dawn.

"To do what?" he drawls.

"To go to a place to live. Are you ready right now?" Jackson presses.

A yes would land Byrd in his own apartment, surrounded by people ready to smooth his life's kinks. No, and he'll remain among the 750,000 homeless sprinkled across the nation's streets and shelters each night.

He stirs, but doesn't get up. Jackson moves on. She has other sidewalks to cover, other parks to check, other bridges to pause beneath. This tug-of-war is bound to increase as the economy pushes more people into homelessness.

In Atlanta and other top destinations for the homeless, a sense of urgency has settled over the efforts of advocates such as Jackson.

The recession is catching many of the nation's largest cities in the middle of pioneering 10-year plans to drastically reduce the number of chronically homeless, city by city, by sweeping parks and alleys for men and women and channeling them into apartments with built-in case workers.

Weary Wall Street donors have grown reluctant to open their pocketbooks to charity, and budget cuts have choked state support. By the time those dollars start flowing again, cities could be looking at starting from scratch.

Rampant foreclosures, meanwhile, mean more Americans without a house, pressuring agencies with new cases as they struggle to reach the long-term homeless that so dramatically drain resources.

"This is the start of tough times," says Protip Biswas, executive director of United Way Atlanta's Regional Commission on Homelessness, a coalition of partner groups that includes Jackson, who works in the city's Gateway Center shelter. Biswas is asking his own case workers to nearly double their load.

The economy is hitting all sectors hard. When your goal is eroding a phenomenon directly linked to poverty, however, a crisis this deep delivers an extra gut punch.

"We're sort of holding our breath," says Steve Berg, with the National Alliance to End Homelessness, a leader in forming the anti-homelessness plans.

"Despite the good work a lot of these communities have done with their 10-year plans, we're probably going to have a time when there's more pressure on homelessness."

Five years ago, Philip Mangano, executive director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, got fed up with homeless numbers that had risen for decades.

"How many homeless people (there were), where they came from, how long they stayed homeless, what were the initiatives that actually worked to reduce homelessness — we didn't know," Mangano says. "We were groping in the dark."

So he urged 100 mayors in 2003 to formulate plans to end homelessness within a decade. They would focus on the chronic homeless, defined as those with a disabling condition experiencing long-term or multiple instances of homelessness and who, activists say, suck up half of available resources.

Leaders would measure progress through benchmarks of people staying off the streets, rather than shelter beds filled. Regions began adopting a strategy placing homeless into their own apartments, then offering help, rather than vice versa.

Immediate housing calms some of the most troubled clients, according to the National Alliance, and double-digit drops in homelessness reported in Chicago, Denver, New York and Norfolk, Va., among other cities, seem to back them up.

"We have some remarkable accomplishments here," says New York Homeless Services Commissioner Robert Hess, pointing to a 25 percent reduction in street homeless since 2005.

Mangano says more than 50,000 units of housing targeting the homeless have been created over the past five years; the goal is 150,000 units by 2014.

Atlanta's 5-year-old program is considered one of the most successful — it's created 1,600 units of supportive housing for the chronically homeless. Of 750 people recently tracked through the program, 90 percent remained housed after a year.

In turn, chronic homelessness is down 16 percent in the metro area, the United Way reports.

About once a month at the Coca Cola park, a bus idles along the sidewalk, ready to carry all the down-and-out men and women whom volunteers like Jackson can round up. They'll go to Leonard House, a complex of modest apartments where groups share bedrooms, kitchens and a new start.

More case workers will work on their deeper issues, reuniting clients with family members, connecting them with drug treatment or helping obtain disability benefits. The most responsive participants can eventually earn a one-bedroom apartment, and organizers say some are on their own within a year.

Atlanta secured more than $50 million in federal funds earmarked for homeless efforts within the past five years.

"Atlanta has been doing a good job — that's why the resources have been increasing," Mangano says.

At United Way, however, Biswas worries about how precarious that progress is considering how quickly the money could run out. The organization spends about $10,000 a year supporting each person in its shelter-to-home programs, using a combination of federal, state and private funding.

United Way Atlanta has roughly $9 million in reserve funds to fund operational expenses, grants and the "Street to Home" program, projected to serve more than 250 people at a cost of nearly $4 million during the next two years.

State funds are often used to hire case managers, and private funds fill in the gaps. Both sources are on the decline: The state recently cut $300,000 allocated for case managers, and while community donations have helped sustain the program beyond its seed fund, the group also is bracing for cuts there.

"Right now we have a challenge grant where one donor has offered us a half-million dollars, provided we can do a one-to-one match," Biswas says. "But the normal foundations are telling us they won't have that much to give."

The bottom line isn't on Jackson's mind as she tramps across the grass of a small park in downtown Atlanta, determined to get people off the streets.

Byrd, the homeless man Jackson has approached, doesn't know or trust the nosy woman with the clipboard. He takes her number scribbled on a tattered slip of paper and promises to call.

This morning, he isn't ready to go home.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: prospectgirl on December 29, 2008, 10:26:35 AM
Amazing commentary! Thank you for the service you do by raising awareness of a truly brutal national problem. I was in awe after reading of the altruism of Mrs. Reilly and her husband. Please keep the information flowing so that some of us can find our own way to make a contribution to this situation, however small or large. I have been told by my Asian students that during the IMF crisis in Korea during the late 90's, very well-to-do men fell into homelessness. How that could happen in such a tightly-knitted culture, I am unsure. Nonetheless, with our current economic situation, we should all be conscious of the misfortunes of others. I find it hard to believe that all of the homeless are drinking, doing drugs,emotionally disturbed, or are war-torn veterans. Where will young single mothers go when they lose their jobs? Will the government be able to subsidize and shelter those who will surely lose their jobs in this coming year? I hope someone has an argument to counter my concern,for we are all aware that the growing ranks of the homeless will soon worsen.

 Editor...in response to the Atlanta article you posted, do you know if a homeless man such as "Byrd" is typical of what is seen in the Hackensack area? I guess I thought the article implied that some persons like Byrd cannot or do not make adjustments if they even get a solid opportunity. Can you speak specifically to the current situation in Hackensack? Incidentally, I remember how often police blamed any incidents that occurred at our Prospect home (in the 1950's), attributing incidents to "prowlers" and claiming that those who lurked were homeless. You may have noticed that I mentioned such incidents in one of my earliest posts,before I found this thread of posts,and not knowing Hackensack has had such a struggle with this current issue. So, has Hackensack been more blighted than most cities for a long time, or has its problem with the homeless community developed in more recent years?
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: BLeafe on December 29, 2008, 12:05:18 PM


 Monday, December 29, 2008
Last updated: Monday December 29, 2008, 6:36 AM


The FAITH Foundation is looking for a home again after it was kicked out of the First Reformed Church of Hackensack following a Christmas dinner for the homeless where heated words were exchanged between church and foundation officials.

 "Maybe it's God's way of telling us we were in the wrong place," said Robin Reilly, executive director of the non-profit group that helps the homeless.

 Church officials countered that they weren't scrooges and said Reilly refused to follow church rules.

 The foundation held a Christmas party for about 100 homeless people at the church. Behind-the-scene tempers were short when Reilly insisted that the homeless be fed before the singing of Christmas carols and a sermon.

 The Rev. Timonty Ippolito, pastor at Faith Reformed Church in Lodi, which holds Sunday worship services at the church, said the "itinerary" called for "worship, word and prayer" first, telling the food servers in the chow line to "drop" the utensils.

 Reilly said she was concerned that some of the homeless had not eaten "for 24 hours."

 Ippolito said he would call the police if Reilly tried to interrupt the service.

 While Ippolito delivered his sermon tempers flared in the back of the room when Reilly said, "This is not what I would call a Christian service."

 That riled the Rev. Leonard Masquelier, the pastor at the Hackensack church, who roared, "Robin, you're out of here!"

 That didn't sit well with Eric, a foundation volunteer and ex-boxer, who got in the reverend's face, blurting, "You don't speak to a lady that way!"

 Two days after the event, the church council sent Reilly an e-mail, telling her "effective immediately, your organization is no longer welcome in our church facilities."

 On Saturday, foundation volunteers moved five van loads of clothes, food and gifts out of the Hackensack church.

 Reilly said the items are "hidden'' in a church which she declined to identify because she didn't want it to get into trouble.

 Church elder Ted Kallinikos, who oversaw the removal, said Reilly "didn't follow anything we requested of her."

 "We gave her three simple rules: respect the church property as if it were your home, no cursing" and follow the Dec. 21 itinerary, Kallinikos said.

 Masquerlier said there's no chance the church would reconsider its decision. The church will cancel its variance request with asking the city to allow the foundation to use its facilities, Masquerlier said.

 "She's doing a wonderful thing [for the homeless], but she refuses to follow the rules," the reverend said.

 The city shut down the foundation's former location on State Street, saying its certificate of occupancy did not include serving food — food that Reilly said was often sent by the city as a helpful gesture.

 Since the holiday blowup, Reilly said citizens, outraged at the way she was treated, have been sending gifts and donations.

 Reilly vowed to continue her work with the homeless.

"We'll keep going," she said.

 E-mail: bautista@northjersey.com

(Be sure to click the link at the top so you can read the reader comments - especially the ignorant first one)

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on December 29, 2008, 05:35:22 PM
Well, Robin's heart is in the right place, but I've never been a big fan of Robin's program because it attracts problem people from outside of Hackensack to to take up "residence" as a homeless person on the streets of Hackensack.  Yes, some of those people are already homeless in Hackensack, but most are from outside cities.  Anything that adds to the population of homeless in Hackensack, count me as being against it.

I'm not surprised that the Church realized that Robin's program was incompatible with their institution.  I bet there was more going on behind the scenes than the news angle, which was the disagreement over whether or not they should eat before the speakers were done. Having been around the block myself a few times, and watching so many issues "develop" in the eyes of the media, I've learned not to trust one d*&@ thing broadcasted or printed by the media, especially The Record.  No doubt there's a lot more to the story than the angle reported in the newspaper.

But I do agree with one thing --- the homeless were hungry and THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO EAT. Come on, let the poor people eat, that's why they came.  They came to eat, not to listen to the speakers. There's nothing wrong with eating while listening to a bunch of speakers pontificating.  It's pathetic that the the speakers were so vane that they insisted on 100% undivided attention.  90% attention to the speakers, and 10% attention to food, should have been fine enough.

Not sure what will happen with Robin's program, but I can't help but notice that the "homeless Taj Mahal" is nearing completion on South River Street.  Looks like a luxury hotel. 
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Hope Donnelly on December 30, 2008, 01:58:33 PM
FAITH Fnd attracted no more than any other agency.  Does anyone get after the church associated with the food pantry?  Or On Our Own? Or even CAP?  Robin gets the people who CAP doesn't have a program for.  Yet, CAP's programs, when there is one, throw people into a dismal spiral that is difficult to get out of.  I'm hoping one guy in particular, a professional person who lost his job, lost his home, whose wife then left him, has no kids or parents, will write about his experience with CAP.  The Record loves the sensational stories.  They have been offered to write about the success stores that Robin has (well over 150) who LEFT Hackensack, but the Record doesn't write about them. 

It is interesting that this "blow-up" happened days after a CO was filed by the church for Robin.  This the same church that offered HER the space, and claimed they knew about her clientele for years and had followed the events of this past years when she finally closed.  Something's up with this (part-time) Pastor Ippolito, who has a full-time job not associated with the church.  There were too many people, caterer's assistants, volunteers from schools, and other agencies, that saw a lot of stuff that is not being reported in the Record.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on January 01, 2009, 02:56:10 PM
Please, when the real story comes out about why the church changed their minds, please post it here.  I guess we agree that we don't expect the Record to print the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Happy New Years.  Keep those homeless WARM.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: nataliemcdonald on January 04, 2009, 02:15:41 PM
Wow, this thread is heavy.  I once spoke to Robin Reilly a few years ago looking for some answers about the death of a deceased classmate. 

In November 2006, I came home from Massachusetts to attend my 30th high school reunion (HHS Class of 1976), and the one person I was really looking forward to seeing again was a guy named George Pjeternikaj.  I kept looking around the banquet room at the Saddle Brook Holiday Inn wondering if he'd show up, and then finally someone said "Shame about George, wasn't it?"  It turned out that George had died about three weeks before the reunion in a room at a boarding house near the FAITH Foundation.  A classmate on the police force gave me the impression that George had been struggling with homelessness and drug abuse and had died of exposure.  I'd read numerous online articles in The Record about homeless people dying that way in Hackensack, so I instantly had a mental picture of George's body being found by the river and it devastated me.

I just couldn't accept that, though; I'd had a crush on George when I was four years old and didn't want to believe he'd died that way.  So I started making inquiries at the funeral home and Holy Trinity Church.  On the way back to Massachusetts, my daughter and I also visited his grave in the Albanian section of a rather upscale cemetery in Westchester County.  The evidence certainly didn't seem like the death of a homeless man at all, and I wasn't going to quit until I got some answers.  This led me to the FAITH Foundation.

The first person who answered the phone said he knew George well, but hinted that there had been some problems with substance abuse.  It took me a while, but I finally got to speak with Robin Reilly personally.  What a relief it was to get the truth.  She said that the reason George was so well known in the homeless community was because, although he did have some issues, he wasn't one of her clients at all.  George actually been the FAITH Foundation's most tireless *volunteer* and she missed him terribly.  She said that George kept a rented room near the FAITH Foundation and would often bring people back to it to shower and change into fresh clothing. 

"I want people to know that George was NOT a bum!" Robin exclaimed repeatedly, though I found this an unusual choice of words for someone dealing with the homeless.  I had to agree, because it broke my heart that people were spreading derogatory rumors about someone whom I always thought was very special.  I was really angry with myself for not keeping in touch over the years.  I actually hadn't seen George since 1986, when we celebrated the grand opening of another classmate's pizzeria on Anderson Street (I think a Rite-Aid there now by the old Acme Market).  So I whipped out my checkbook and promptly made a donation to the FAITH Foundation.  It was enough money so that Robin could give George Pjeternikaj the memorial repast he deserved within the homeless community.  I believe she said the event would have about 60 attendees.  I also arranged for a memorial mass to be said at Holy Trinity Church on the anniversary of his death.  I found it curious that I never got a response from a single member of the Pjeternikaj family for these gestures of condolence.  Perhaps George's real "family" had become Hackensack's homeless, the people he had been helping in the final days of his life.

Learning now of Robin Reilly's struggle makes me especially sad.  Maybe there are some other former classmates from Holy Trinity, Hackensack Middle and Hackensack High School who might consider helping her efforts with a similar donation in honor of George Pjeternikaj and his efforts to help the homeless.

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on January 10, 2009, 10:52:11 AM
Today's Record:
Shelters getting $5.3 million
Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sister Gloria Perez was filled with hope on Wednesday — hope that Eva's Kitchen in Paterson will be one of the beneficiaries of $5.3 million in federal grants to keep food and homeless shelter programs going in New Jersey during tough times.

"We would be thrilled and appreciative," said Sister Gloria, executive director of Eva's Village, one of the most comprehensive anti-poverty programs in the state. "But we have no idea how the money will be given out."

The kitchen serves 1,000 meals daily to the homeless.

The grant was announced Wednesday by Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez and is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Emergency Food and Shelter Program. FEMA is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

More than $200 million will be distributed nationwide. The $5.3 million will be shared by 14 counties in New Jersey.

Passaic County will receive $380,536. Bergen County will get $498,227.

"We need to do all we can to combat homelessness," said Lautenberg, known for his visits to Eva's at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"Families in our state have been devastated by lost jobs and lost homes," Menendez said.

Sister Gloria has been on the front lines. Eva's Kitchen holds 240, but there are usually 350 homeless at each meal, she said.

"Out of all the homeless, the saddest part is the young mothers with children," Sister Gloria said. "On Christmas, we sat 400 people at noon. … It's scary. Everybody is affected, but the poor just get poorer and poorer."

In Bergen County, Robin Reilly, executive director of FAITH Foundation, said her "client" list of homeless numbers around 250.

Her foundation does not accept public funds, but she praised any boost in aid for the homeless.

"It's all good," she said. "We do all right privately. … If you do God's work, the money comes."

Other agencies in Bergen County that provide shelter for the homeless include the Christ Church Community Development Corp., which runs Peter's Place, and the Bergen County Community Action Partnership, which provides meals and a "sit-up" shelter for the homeless.

E-mail: bautista@northjersey.com
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on January 25, 2009, 07:10:46 PM
Project Homeless Connect

(by Edward Yi - January 25, 2009)
County initiative reaches out to homeless

As the weakened economy ravages the vaults of nonprofit organizations, Bergen County is doing what it can to provide for its homeless residents. On Jan. 28, the county’s Community Action Partnership will host Project Homeless Connect, a program designed to lend a helping hand, which includes free flu vaccinations and AIDS testing, to those forced to live on the streets.

Representatives from the Bergen County Department of Health, the Board of Social Services and Comprehensive Behavioral Healthcare will be on hand to discuss social security, welfare, housing, mental health, and veterans’ services. In addition, the Parisian Beauty Academy will provide free haircuts, and items such as coats, socks and hats will be distributed.

“It’s a good way to let people know what services the county can provide,” said Mabel Aragon, deputy director for the office of communications.

“If you go, you’ll see representatives from agencies with brochures and papers. They can give you vital information about services that the government can provide. There are also donations as well. At the least, PHC will educate and inform you of what is available for you.”

Project Homeless Connect began five years ago in San Francisco with only 278 volunteers. Today, approximately 100 cities participate with a PHC of their own. This year marks the third year of PHC in New Jersey.

In addition to helping the homeless, Bergen County also uses PHC for demographic purposes.

“For the last 10 to 11 years, HUD-mandated agencies were asked to do a homeless count. For the last three years, we used Project Homeless Connect to get more people. Homeless people hide, and we need to get a more accurate count,” said Alison DuBois, director of crisis services at the BCCAP.

“There are about 5,000 homeless county wide… With the way the economy has been going, that number is only going to increase.”

Bergen County also performs a survey every year to develop a rough estimate of how the number of homeless. According to Aragon, workers are sent to alleys and churches, places where the homeless usually reside, to find out how many homeless take refuge there. However, uncontrollable factors, such as the weather, can significantly lower the accuracy of such counts. Last year, only 941 adults were counted.

In addition, PHC also serves as a way to improve social services in the county. According to Aragon, it is a self-assessment of sorts as it provides an overview of what the county needs to do to further lessen poverty.

Residents may donate items for the PHC. The BCCAP requests gloves, hats, scarves, gently worn coats, socks, thermal underwear, monetary contributions, or gift cards in increments of $5 to food establishments. Donations can be dropped off at the BCCAP Drop-In Center, 67 Orchard St. in Hackensack. The BCCAP will take donations up to Jan. 26.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Skipx219 on February 05, 2009, 02:28:23 PM
 There are at least 8 new homeless who frequent the Orchard St facility.  One is a young man who said he just returned from the Afgan Theater - things are really getting bad out there.

 I've also noticed that the homeless have really suffered this Winter and it is noticeable
just looking at them. 

 The new Giant Stadium is going up quicker than the new Homeless Shelter.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on February 13, 2009, 08:24:46 AM
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on February 16, 2009, 08:13:09 PM
Bergen shelter puts hope under one roof (http://www.northjersey.com/news/aroundnj/Bergen_shelter_puts_hope_under_one_roof.html)
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on February 19, 2009, 09:59:15 PM
Today's Record: http://www.northjersey.com/news/crimeandcourts/39830257.html

Center for homeless is a worthy gamble
Thursday, February 19, 2009

There are all sorts of descriptions for the new white building in Hackensack across River Street from the Bergen County jail.

Homeless shelter is one inescapable portrayal. Another is counseling hub for housing, health and other needs.

But here is one tag that no one has mentioned, yet: The place is a gamble – a worthy one.

For years, Hackensack has been a homeless battleground. With as many as 100 homeless people on the streets, the city became something of a mecca for those who needed help and a hub of social conscience for those who wanted to come to their aid.

But how best to save the homeless?

That question baffled a wide variety of well-intentioned people, from government officials, to social workers, to clergy, to volunteers – often to the point of heated arguments. Bergen County's new Housing, Health, and Human Services Center on River Street is an attempt to bring peace.

But let's not kid ourselves: The center, with its construction price tag of $11.5 million and its annual budget of $2.8 million, is not a guaranteed success story. The center will test a concept – that if you give someone shelter, you can cure deeper problems.

At issue in the debate over Hackensack's homeless population was how to handle the most vulnerable men and women – the 100 or so chronic street people who drank too much booze, took too many drugs or were handcuffed by incurable mental problems.

Several years ago, I came upon one of these poor souls. It was April Fool's Day, and he was standing on a corner, screaming obscenities.

Police arrested him and sent him to the county jail. A few weeks later, he was brought to court and charged with a disorderly person's offense.

At the first hearing, he tried to escape by jumping out a bathroom window. Released on bail and told to come back for another hearing, he disappeared – never to be seen again.

What should have been done with this guy?

There was room in the county shelter for him. But shelter rules barred anyone who had drug or alcohol problems – and this guy smelled like he bathed in Budweiser. A local Episcopal church opened its doors to addicts. But this man also had too many mental problems and often got into fights.

So he was kicked out.

Volunteers such as Robin Reilly of the Faith Foundation offered food and comfort – and free sleeping bags — to troubled men like this. But Reilly's efforts often angered local authorities who wanted the chronic homeless off the streets.

The new, 27,000-square foot facility, which will phase in programs this summer and hopes to be fully operational in November, aims to take in just these sorts of people – the worst of the worst.

Mable Aragon, a county spokeswoman, calls the shelter a "one-stop center." She's right. For the first time, homeless people can go to one place to see a doctor, sleep, eat and speak to a counselor about a problem.

"We have a better chance to help them," said Clark LaMendola, a health and housing consultant for the center.

The goal is to place homeless people in their own apartments. The county already has enough federal funding to pay for 50 rentals.

But this is a long journey. Even an apartment does not clear up a drug or alcohol addiction. It does not necessarily soothe someone's mental pain.

But Bergen County is willing to gamble – and it's about time. This is one gamble our government should be taking.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: itsme on February 20, 2009, 08:47:29 AM
Thank God for this center.  Hopefully, there will be a place for AA and NA meetings for those who really need it.  To know that they will have the ability to obtain psychiatric counseling, and all of this under the same roof, is promising to those who are homeless.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on March 18, 2009, 12:04:52 PM
'Worth gamble' whose time has come
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Last updated: Wednesday March 18, 2009, 6:45 AM

It makes sense to put as many health and human services as possible at one site.

RECORD Columnist Mike Kelly called Bergen County's new Housing, Health and Human Services Center a "worthy gamble" ("Center for the homeless is a worthy gamble," Page L-3, Feb. 19), and I agree.

This is the right time to provide a well-organized system of care in one location, on River Street in Hackensack, across from the Bergen County Jail. Current economic conditions suggest that the threat of homelessness is a daily reality for many people. Those who are in danger of losing their homes can now find advice and support at one location, increasing the prospect of preventing homelessness. We need this safety net now more than ever.

Our approach takes advantage of the great strengths of our community. Services at the center will be provided by existing public and private agencies, working together, sharing their resources and expertise. In addition to temporary shelter, the center will offer medical and dental care, a nutrition program and a drop-in center designed to encourage clients to use the services available in the building. Flexible office space will be provided for additional services, including employment counseling, legal aid, behavioral health and substance abuse counseling, and veterans services.

State and federal grants will be redirected to support and strengthen the center-based programs. Over $1.8 million in additional federal and state funding and contributions have already been generated — for housing vouchers, equipment and direct services. Our goal is to generate efficiencies valued at $1.2 million the first year of operation by reducing emergency room visits, incarceration costs and provision of needed medical care.

It makes sense to put as many health and human services as possible at one site. It's an idea that was suggested by well-respected Bergen County human service agencies and churches. And for folks who are homeless — many who face multiple challenges — making the care available at one location allows every aspect of the solution to be crafted into a single, coordinated service plan by skilled professionals working together to provide needed care.

Evidence from locations as far away as Seattle and as close as Westchester County confirms that Bergen County's approach will lead to higher rates of permanent housing retention. And more: The evidence demonstrates conclusively that this approach — termed Housing First — reduces the proportion of time spent homeless.

And that reduction will decrease the cost for health and social services because the homeless will no longer be moving in and out of shelters or jails, or being treated in emergency rooms. Experience demonstrates that getting people out of shelters and into housing provides the foundation for solving the complex, underlying problems that most homeless individuals face.

This has been a long journey, but it's about time.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on November 30, 2009, 08:44:49 AM
Ray of hope for the homeless
Monday, November 30, 2009
The Record

Click here for photos (http://www.northjersey.com/multimedia/photogalleries/78105597.html)

Bergen County's new homeless shelter has secured permanent housing for 17 people since it opened in October.

Julia Orlando, the director of the Housing, Health and Human Services Center, also expects to find housing for 10 more people by the end of the year.

It's one of the reasons she doesn't call the people she serves residents or clients. Orlando prefers the word "guests" because it implies both hospitality and a temporary stay.

"The message really is we're here to help you move on," she said.

The 90-bed shelter, which opened in early October and became fully operational early this month, was designed to place the homeless in permanent residences as soon as possible, rather than to simply provide a one-night shelter.

Unlike the shelters that preceded it and are now closed, the facility on River Street offers several social services under one roof so people who need them aren't discouraged by difficult-to-navigate bureaucracies.

The facility offers job training and placement, medical and psychiatric screenings, showers and meals, as well as assistance in locating and securing a permanent residence.

"It's many different agencies working for the same purpose," Orlando said.

The county owns the facility, but several private companies and non-profits help operate it. Christ Church in Hackensack provides some of the staffing, Paramus-based Care Plus NJ handles case management, and Friendship House in Hackensack provides meals. Orlando reports to the Bergen County Housing Authority, which also assists in finding homes for people who stay at the center.

"One of the wonderful things about the program is the housing authority is here," Orlando said. "There's a lot less room for people to procrastinate now."

Before the center opened, people would have to travel to Englewood to meet with someone from the agency.

County Executive Dennis McNerney described the services offered to the homeless as "fragmented" before the facility opened.

"Now it's administered all in one area," he said.

"This is the first permanent shelter in a county with nearly a million residents."

Michael Press is hoping it will lead him to permanent housing soon.

He was evicted in January and has been homeless since then.

Landscaping work had become scarce for Press, and he had fallen behind on the rent.

"I told my son Joe, 'Pack up all your clothes in the bag, you're going to stay with your mother for a while,' " he recalled.

"I had a feeling we were going to get evicted."

Joe is now living with his mother in Delaware.

Press, who originally is from Oradell, is living at the new shelter, but hopes to have an apartment within a month.

"I've been homeless about seven months," he said. "The whole thing has been a nightmare except for this place."

Press said his case manager at the center has helped him to secure Social Security insurance of $862 a month.

But not everyone who comes to the center is happy with the services it offers. One man, who didn't want his name to be used, criticized how shower use is restricted to the hours from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you're homeless and have a job, that makes it difficult to take a shower there, he said.

"What happens if you're working two or three towns away?" he asked.

Orlando said that while there are specific times for taking showers, the center does make accommodations for people's schedules.

"We've allowed people to take a shower before work," she said.

E-mail: gartland@northjersey.com
Title: Salvation Army
Post by: Editor on December 06, 2009, 09:35:08 AM
More than just red kettles
Friday, December 4, 2009
Hackensack Chronicle

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley.

Ding, ding, ding went the bell.

OK, so there really wasn’t a trolley rolling up and down the Hackensack streets, but the bells will be ringing here and throughout the country this December, just as they have been since 1891. The familiar holiday sound of a hand-rung brass bell is a reminder that the Salvation Army is back on the streets, continuing the tradition of its Red Kettle Christmas Campaign.

The Red Kettle has become part of what people know and have grown accustomed to seeing during the holidays. And it’s a constant reminder to mall goers and bargain hunters that as much as this is the season of presents and gifts, it’s also the time for charity.

One of the organization’s most successful initiatives, the Red Kettle campaign raised more than $130 million nationwide in 2008. Despite the fact that the economic recession has slimmed everyone’s wallets and trimmed holiday cash accounts, Salvation Army volunteers are hoping to turn in similar, if not better, numbers than last year.

You know the drill: pass one of the Red Kettles manned by a uniformed Salvation Army volunteer and drop any type of monetary donation into the canister. The money raised benefits the many Salvation Army clients throughout the country.

There are countless residents here that depend on Salvation Army’s outstretched hands. Money given to the Hackensack Corps is put to several uses, the most popular, according to the clients, is the Sunday hot meal program.

Based at the Second Reformed Church on Union Street, the Hackensack Corps volunteers serve a hot meal complete with side dishes, hot and cold beverages, and dessert. This is the busiest time of the year for the program, said volunteer Nancy Cochrane.

"During the year, spring and summer months, we’ll have a few people come in. But now, with the holidays here, we’ll start to see more and more people come have a meal," she said following the year’s largest lunch turnout, the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving.

Cochrane predicted that even more people will show up for the Dec. 20 lunch, the final offering before Christmas.

"People know it’s the holidays, and everyone deserves something more and something special at this time of year."
Special times at the Salvation Army

Thanksgiving was a special time inside the basement of the Second Reformed Church. Cochrane, who has volunteered as one of the main chefs for the Sunday lunch, prepared a simple yet abundant feast for the clients. The menu included hot turkey, gravy, potatoes, vegetables and bread. Pie with whipped cream was served for dessert.

"I like to give them something nice on Thanksgiving," she said, adding that meals throughout the year might feature chicken marsala or chicken piccata with a spring vegetable risotto and roasted asparagus.

"But there are times when it’s just going to be meatloaf; an awesome meatloaf though. It’s really based on what you can get."

Like other soup kitchens and hot meal programs, the Hackensack Salvation Army gets most of its food from Community FoodBank of New Jersey. Cochrane does most of the shopping, using the Salvation Army’s funds to pick up what’s available.

"You really get whatever is available. When I see things that I know the people can use, I’ll get them," said Cochrane, a Salvation Army volunteer for more than 12 years.

"The captains [Jenny and Samuel Alarcon] give me the freedom to purchase and get what I want, that’s why we have the meals that we do."

And the clients recognize the effort that the volunteers give to help them. They greet the volunteers and converse on a first-name basis. They share their stories and struggles, as well as their dietary needs.

"Most of them are people who have just fallen on hard times, and this is the only place where they can get a hot meal. We have a lot of regulars, and I worry when I don’t see them. We don’t get a lot of the true homeless," said Cochrane.

"Sammy" was one of the homeless clients who came in on Nov. 22. A first time visitor at the church, Sammy said he had heard a lot about the lunch program from someone he knows.

"We see new faces from time to time, especially when they know we’re giving away something extra. Word travels fast out there," said Cochrane, adding that a special goodie bag containing cookies, mints and other items was distributed to all who came in for Thanksgiving. On other "special days" Cochrane will hand out combs, hand sanitizer, aloe and foot powders, among other products.

Those extra items, not to mention the menu items that the volunteers hope to serve, aren’t always available. Cochrane only goes as far as their budget allows, but that doesn’t mean she won’t dip into her own pockets to help. She brings whatever she can from her own home—for Thanksgiving, she lugged in a meat slicer to carve the turkey.

The volunteers, who numbered fewer than 10 two Sundays ago, happily accept donations from the community to help with the Sunday lunch program. A cramped kitchen and serving space limits manpower and prevents many walk-in volunteers, but the community is always welcome to chip in by lending supplies, Cochrane said.

"I do have a wish list: we’re always in need of paper goods, napkins and paper towels. We need utensils, hot and cold cups. Cleaning supplies, too, so we can clear up for the church which gives us this space," she said.

Then there are the bigger supplies. A coffee urn is needed. A deep-fryer is wanted.

"We use whatever the church has here, and we are very grateful. But if I had a deep-fryer, I could give them something different," Cochrane said.

Home for the holidays

The Hackensack chapter hasn’t had a permanent home since it moved out of its State Street location in 2003. Collapsed ceiling tiles forced the group out, but it has since found a temporary base at the Second Reformed Church.

Plans to renovate their former location were scratched after construction officials found that the building had serious structural damage in the walls and foundation. The abandoned site soon became a haven for the city’s homeless, particularly during colder months. In 2007, a fire inside the building deserted building killed a homeless man as he slept.

The site was soon put up for sale.

For now, the Hackensack Corps are settled inside the church at Anderson and Union streets.

"They’ve been great to us," Cochrane said of the Second Reformed Church. "Hopefully one day, we’ll have our own home but until then, the relationship here between us, the church and the community has been terrific."

E-mail: hackensack@northjersey.com

Salvation Army’s holiday wish list

Volunteers at the Hackensack chapter of the Salvation Army are seeking various items for their Sunday hot meal program. For more information, contact the Salvation Army at 201-342-6531. The Salvation Army provides assistance to residents of Hackensack, South Hackensack, Teaneck, Bogota, Maywood and River Edge.

    * 30-cup coffee urn
    * 10 3/4 paper plates
    * Disposable utensils
    * Paper goods - napkins, paper towels
    * Deep aluminum pans

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on September 17, 2010, 08:50:54 AM
Bergen County homeless shelter finds permanent homes for 107
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The Record

HACKENSACK – Less than a year since it opened, Bergen County’s homeless shelter has found permanent housing for 107 individuals, officials said Thursday.

Julia Orlando, the director of the Housing, Health and Human Services Center, said the number of people seeking help at the shelter has been increasing due to the tough economic times.

“We are seeing more people sleeping in their cars, seeing more families, and we are seeing more people coming in because they can’t find work not because they are mentally ill or have a substance abuse,” she said. “And that speaks directly to the economy.”

On Thursday, the shelter hosted a “Homelessness Awareness Day,” to share information about the plight of the county homeless and also to inform non-profits and faith based organizations in the county about the services offered at the center and its needs.

“Today we hope that each of you will be able to take back valuable information to your respective organizations and your communities so you can assist us in spreading the word about the vital services that are offered in this center to combat homelessness and enhance the quality of life of our neighbors in need,” said Bergen County Freeholder John Hogan.

The 90-bed shelter, which opened in early October, was designed to place the homeless in permanent residences as soon as possible. The facility offers job training and placement, medical and psychiatric screenings, showers and meals, as well as assistance in locating and securing a permanent residence.

The guest speaker at the afternoon event was Diane Johnson, New Jersey’s field office director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Speaking to more than 60 people, Johnson commended the county for the work being done at the center, calling the site the “most innovative” in the state, because it provides several supportive services to homeless on their path to permanent housing.

 “I love that all the social service agencies and providers are coming together for one stop and you don’t have to go all over the place, but you can get all the answers right here,” she said. “…This is the one stop center, this is the way to end homelessness.”

Johnson said President Obama is committed to ending homelessness, and that HUD is proposing a $107 million increase in its 2011 budget to create 9,500 apartments for individuals and families.

“That means that some of those 9,500 units will be in the state of New Jersey, and because Bergen County is doing the job, you know Bergen County is going to be among the first,” she said to applause.

Orlando said she wants the center to form more partnerships with local organizations which could help gather donations of toiletries and coats for those staying at the shelter, and furniture, linens, cookware and cleaning supplies for those setting up their apartments.

“Shelter guests leave here with little else than the clothing they came with,” she said.

Paul Valverde, the co-commander of the Hackensack Salvation Army Corp., was among the attendees, and said he is planning to expand his organization’s furniture voucher program.

“We are looking forward to seeing what we can do to help here,” Valverde said.

Among the other county and local officials who attended the event were Bergen County Executive Dennis McNerney, County Freeholders James Carroll and Bernadette McPherson, Hackensack Mayor Karen Sasso, and City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono, and Palisades Park Mayor James Rotundo, who is a commissioner for the Housing Authority of Bergen County.

E-mail: alvarado@northjersey.com
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on September 17, 2010, 07:30:23 PM
Since one of the 69 or 70 towns in Bergen County (Hackensack) is doing such a commendable job helping the homeless, I say when HUD, Obama, and company come into Bergen County to build some of the thousands of units of housing to help those in financial need, lets be sure that they are all built in the other towns in Bergen County that have done NOTHING over the decades to help the homeless or provide low-income housing.

Hackensack already has hundreds of units of Section 8 housing, homeless housing, Mt. Laurel housing, and units in boarding units.  Not to mention hundreds, if not thousands, of units that have undergone FILTERING as a result of being in the nearby proximity.

There are so many towns with no welfare housing, no affordable housing, and in some cases, almost no rental housing of any economic level. Let THOSE be the towns that are targeted for this new federally-funded low-income housing.

Let there be justice, let there be equity.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on October 26, 2010, 08:24:18 AM
Two Record articles below:

The Record: Shelter a success
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The Record

FOR YEARS, homeless citizens wandered the streets of Hackensack, accessing a patchwork of social services and community supports that did much to soothe, though not always solve, their homelessness.

Happily, the county's year-old homeless shelter is making long-term inroads. Since its founding in March 2009, the Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services Center in Hackensack has helped 102 homeless people move into their own apartments, Staff Writer Harvy Lipman reports. And in an astounding endorsement of its methods, not a single one of those 102 people is back on the street.

The shelter's structure and management are nearly as complex as the problems its clients contend with — family estrangement, poverty, physical disabilities, substance abuse, mental illness and bad luck. It provides not only food and shelter, but also social workers, mental health counselors, nurses, job-readiness coaches and legal aid attorneys, all from different non-profit agencies — all on site.

The agency assigns each client the same mission: to get their affairs in order, apply for a federal housing voucher and prepare to move to a permanent home. While not everyone is ready to take on the challenge, those who are do spectacularly well.

Advocates for this "Housing First" methodology believe that a stable home is a starting point for healing and growth, rather than a reward after other problems are addressed. It can be controversial, because it means using public funds to pay housing costs for citizens unable to support themselves. But advocates say it ultimately saves money, because people in permanent housing have better health outcomes and lead more stable, potentially independent lives.

Clearly, so-called "rapid rehousing" is proving a compassionate, dignified and effective approach to the painful shame of homelessness in Bergen County. Bravo. Let the next year bring 100 more success stories.
Center cost $11.4M to build, $5M more than initial estimate
Monday, October 25, 2010
Last updated: Monday October 25, 2010, 9:20 AM
The Record

Bergen County estimated in 2006 that construction of its Housing, Health and Human Services Center on River Street in Hackensack would cost $6.2 million.

By the time the facility, which houses the county's new homeless shelter, was completed in October 2009, the tab came to $11.4 million — including the costs of issuing bonds and demolishing the vacant building on the property.

From the time the first contract was awarded to RSC Architects of Cliffside Park in May 2006 until construction was completed, nearly $1 million in change orders were added. Most of those were for upgrades requested by the county.

Sheri Hensley, spokeswoman for County Executive Dennis McNerney, said the total cost is misleading because it includes extras beyond the actual construction. "The overall cost was not significantly higher" than the original estimates, she said.

McNerney added that low interest rates kept the cost down.

"Some people are criticizing us over the cost or that we borrowed money to build it," he said. "But the debt service on this project is extremely low, because we issued bonds when interest rates were among the lowest in history."

The county was criticized when the first contracts were no-bid deals to companies that donated to Bergen County Democrats.

Brian Hague, now McNerney's chief of staff and then his spokesman, defended the awards, saying, "You want to make sure you're getting a company that can deliver the project on time and on budget."

But one of the main reasons for the increased cost of the facility is that it wasn't completed on time. Epic Management, the Piscataway company hired to manage the project, was paid an extra $209,665 because the center took nearly 10 months longer than originally planned to build. According to documents filed with the county, Epic blamed the delays on Ingrassia Construction, the general contractor and the only one hired through competitive bidding.

Ingrassia's contract was originally for $7.6 million; by the end of the construction, Ingrassia had been paid $8.4 million. Documents it filed attribute the extra costs to changes requested by the county, including additional rooms and upgrades to the electrical system.

According to federal and state campaign finance records, the Middlesex-based construction company is the only one of the main contractors that has not contributed to local Democrats.

In contrast, Epic and its principals gave more than $100,000 to Bergen County Democrats from 2002 to 2009. RSC Architects and its principals have donated at least $45,000, and the engineering firm for the center — PMK Group of Cranford — gave local Democrats nearly $30,000.

— Harvy Lipman
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on November 19, 2010, 11:23:48 PM
'Housing First' approach for homeless called success (http://www.northjersey.com/news/bergen/105672188_From_the_streets_to_shelter.html?page=all)
Monday, October 25, 2010
Last updated: Monday October 25, 2010, 4:25 PM
The Record
Staff Writer

Mary Sunden has no illusions about the difficulty of working with Bergen County's homeless population.

She knows, after six years of effort, that relocating people to any sort of permanent housing from the streets usually involves dealing with their alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illness or physical disability - and frequently a combination of those problems. Even if you help them get an apartment, they may be just one relapse from trashing the place and being evicted.

But finding housing for the homeless is Sunden's No. 1 priority as executive director of the Christ Church Community Development Corp., which staffs the homeless shelter at the year-old Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services Center in Hackensack under a contract with the county Housing Authority, the center's operator.

And that's just what her agency and other non-profits at the center have done. Since its start as a pilot program in March 2009 (the center's building opened last October), they've helped 102 homeless people move into their own apartments. Two more have moved into residential care facilities. Six have obtained government vouchers to help pay for housing and are preparing to move.

Not one is back on the street.

"There have been some rough spots," Sunden acknowledged. "But they're all still in their apartments. I'm really amazed."

The center's operating philosophy is a national model known as "Housing First."That entails moving people into apartments as quickly as possible under the theory that it's impossible even to begin solving other problems before people their other problems before they have a place to live. At the same time, |the center houses a range of agencies that provide services from case management to job referrals. Some clients |get follow-up care once they move |from Comprehensive Behavioral Health Care, a Lyndhurst mental health program.

"The primary goal for everyone is to get a home," said the Rev. William Parnell of Christ Church. "Every step is geared toward getting somebody out of there."

Christ Church Community Development Corp. operated the Peter's Place homeless shelter in Hackensack before moving its operation into the center.

While the center is owned by the county, most people working there are employed by non-profits. Only $165,000 of the facility's $2.8 million operating budget goes to county employees - all of them security guards.

Dennis Culhane, a professor of social policy at the University of Pennsylvania professor of social policy who has published numerous studies on homelessness and the Housing First approach, said what Bergen County the county has set up "sounds like a model program, based on what we know works and what's most cost-efficient."

Culhane noted that while |the services seem expensive, academic studies show that housing the homeless actually saves taxpayer money, because the chronically homeless frequently are treated in emergency rooms and admitted to hospitals for health problems caused by being on the streets, or are arrested and jailed. Even shelter care is expensive, he said.

Bergen officials say their system is being studied by other counties. Many have no government-owned shelters. Passaic County, for example, relies on shelters owned and operated mainly by religious groups, such as Eva's Village in Paterson.

The idea for the Bergen County center grew out of the county's Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness, which was spurred at least in part by the county's desire to become eligible for U.S. Housing and Urban Development funds.

Clark LaMendola, a former CEO of Bergen County's United Way who was the county's consultant on the project, said adopting the Housing First approach triggered about $5 million in federal housing vouchers.

LaMendola thought that creating a "One-Stop Shopping Center," where the homeless individuals could have access to various services without having to travel from one government office to another, was critical. But getting all those non-profit providers to work together wasn't an easytask.

"We all had our own methodologies," said Peter Scerbo, executive director of Comprehensive Behavioral Health Care. That included strict rules about not sharing confidential information, for example. But to work together with the same clients, those restrictions had to be overcome. Scerbo credited Julia Orlando, the center's director, with facilitating that.

"She needed to sift through who would do what," he said. "There was a lot of upfront sparring around who was to determine what everybody does. But it's been worked through now, and it functions pretty well."

To be sure, the center hasn't completely solved the county's homelessness problem, and it has its critics. Kathleen Salvo, owner of the Hackensack Pastry Shop and an activist with the 1st Ward neighborhood block watch association, dismisses the center as an expensive "big facade." She complained that the homeless wander around her neighborhood, which surrounds the center.

Robin Reilly, executive director of the FAITH Foundation - which used to run a drop-in center for the homeless until it was shut down by Hackensack city officials - said that she worries about the homeless still living on the streets who won't take advantage of the center. But, she added, "It's really an excellent facility. They've gotten a lot of housing for people, and I say thank God for it."

Orlando noted that, according to the county's most recent survey in which volunteers go out looking for the homeless, "70 percent of the chronically homeless are being served through the shelter."

"Have we eliminated every single homeless person? Have we eliminated every single vagrant on the street? No," said Orlando, who was director for residential services at The Bridge mental health center in New York before being hired to run the county facility. "We cannot force people into recovery. We cannot force people into apartments. All we can do is engage with people, and we do a very good job of that."

E-mail: lipman@northjersey.com
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on January 25, 2011, 09:43:50 AM
Cops, advocates check on homeless exposed to bitter cold
Monday, January 24, 2011
Last updated: Tuesday January 25, 2011, 7:27 AM
The Record

Thermostats dropped to single digits on Monday, sending police and advocates for the homeless in Northern New Jersey to check streets and river banks making sure that those in need stayed warm.

Temperatures plummeted as low as 5 degrees in Teterboro Monday morning, according to the National Weather Service. Lauren Nash, a meteorologist, said temperatures are expected to climb to the mid Thirties today.

“It’s really cold out there,” said Robin Reilly, founder of the F.A.I.T.H. Foundation, who checked on the homeless living on Hackensack streets Monday morning. “There are people out there that don’t want to go to the shelters, so we try and make sure they are OK.”

Medical examiner offices covering Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Sussex and Hudson counties reported no confirmed deaths related to the cold as of Monday afternoon.

But county and local police departments were making sure people stayed safe. In Paterson, police looked for homeless citizens during patrol, offering to take them to shelters and the police station, or to the hospital if needed.

Paterson Police Lt. Alex Popov asked for the public’s help to identify people at risk of exposure to the cold.

“We advise residents if they see someone who is obviously homeless to give us a call so we can go check on them,” Popov said.

Passaic County police monitored county parks Monday and checked on senior citizens who are part of the “Are you Ok program” through the county Sheriff’s Office, spokesman Bill Maer said.

Reilly, who used to run a homeless drop-in center in Hackensack, and now works out of her Oradell home, said she gathered coats, sweatshirts, hats and gloves and dropped them off on Saturday at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Hackensack to distribute to some 20 people who live on the streets. Reilly said one of her volunteers drove along the Hackensack River Monday looking for the homeless that sleep along its banks handing out water and warm clothing.

“The real danger in this weather is frost bite,” said Reilly. “And water, everyone forgets about the importance of keeping hydrated, even in the cold.”

The frigid weather led to a surge of cold-related illness and injuries at area hospitals.

Late Monday morning, 17 people were being treated at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson for injuries related to slip and falls.

The hospital also saw more visits from patients with respiratory problems, chest pains and shortness of breath, which are all associated with cold weather.

“The body is more stressed in the extreme cold, so it’s important to stay warm,” said Dr. Mark Rosenberg, chairman of emergency medicine at St. Joseph’s.

Shelter officials said they haven’t seen a dramatic increase in people seeking a place to sleep, but officials at the Bergen County Housing and Human Services Center in Hackensack said more homeless have been staying indoors after they wake up.

“I see more people during the day in the building because they don’t want to go outside,” said Julia Orlando, executive director, who said the 90-bed shelter is full to capacity. “It’s just been unbearably cold.”

Orlando said the seasonal drop-in center, which opened on Dec. 16, and can accommodate 15 overnight guests has also been full to capacity since it opened.

“We try to limit it to 15 because we don’t have staffing beyond that, but if its really bad weather and there is significant alerts, we wouldn’t turn anybody away,” she said.

Over in Paterson at Eva’s Village, the shelters are filled to capacity, and the number of people who are served hot lunches daily has decreased a bit in the last few days, according to Joanne Fagan, communication and grants specialist for the shelter. She said many of the working poor the center serves at lunchtime decide to stay in their homes instead of venturing out in the cold.

The same was true at Oasis, a Haven for Women and Children in Paterson. Officials there distributed more pantry items before last week’s snowstorm, and have seen a slight decrease in recent days of the number of women who stop by for hot lunch.

“We gave quite a few bags of extra pantry items last week, because we try to make sure that they have enough food at home,” said Caroline Waterman, executive director of the center, a non-profit which serves poor women and their children.

The American Red Cross of Northern New Jersey, which serves Bergen and Passaic counties, had an emergency shelter on standby in Newark, said Kathy Hoag, communications specialist. As of Monday evening, it was not being used, she said.

The last time temperatures in North Jersey dropped this low was Jan. 17 last year. Before then, North Jersey saw temperatures dip even further in 2004 to zero on Jan. 16, 2004, according to Tim Morrin, National Weather Service meteorologist.

While New Jerseyans bundle up against the cold, forecasters are trying to determine whether another snowstorm will hit the state. The National Weather Service says the potential exists for a winter storm on Wednesday.

The current projection calls for light snow Wednesday morning, followed by a mix of snow and rain throughout the day, said Nash, of the National Weather Service. Late Wednesday into Thursday, Nash said, light snow is expected. The amount of precipitation is still uncertain, she said.

E-mail: alvarado@northjersey.com and adely@northjersey.com
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on June 22, 2011, 08:54:38 AM
Panel Advocates Different Approach to Homelessness (http://paramus.patch.com/articles/panel-advocates-different-approach-to-homelessness#photo-6680387)
Bergen Community hosts panel on homeless

Paramus Patch
By Myles Ma
June 21, 2011

Clark LaMendola moderated a discussion on homelessness by panelists Sam Tsemberis, Lisa Stand, Tom Toronto and Julia Orlando (not pictured) on June 21, 2011 at Bergen Community College. Credit Myles Ma

A panel of experts gave a status report on efforts to reduce homelessness in Bergen County on Tuesday at Bergen Community College.

Julia Orlando, director of the county Housing, Health and Human Services Center in Hackensack, said the center has helped hundreds of people since it opened in late 2009.

Since then, the center has found permanent homes for 158 people and provided temporary shelter for 510 others. The center employs a "Housing First" model to give the homeless access to permanent housing immediately, rather than asking them to work their way toward independent housing.

The model was pioneered in the 1990s by Sam Tsemberis, founder of Pathways to Housing, a nonprofit dedicated to ending homelessness. Tsemberis was on hand as a panelist, and explained that the model arose more out of necessity than ingenuity.

"We were just desperate to try something new," Tsemberis said.

The Hackensack center follows the model of providing immediate housing for the homeless, regardless of their extenuating circumstances, and then providing support services to ensure they can keep their new homes.

"We don't ask them to be in treatment, we don't ask them to take medication, we don't require anything for someone to meet with the housing specialist to look at their eligibility," Orlando said.

Even in Bergen County, with the 16th-highest per capita income in the country, there are hundreds of homeless, moderator Clark LaMendola said. LaMendola cited last year's Point in Time Survey, which counts homeless in communities on a given day, and found more than 500 homeless people in Bergen County.

More than 100 of them were children, and 10% were veterans. What's more, LaMendola said, those figures are likely understated, and are increasing in suburban areas.

Tom Toronto, who was the chairman of the county 10-year plan to end homelessness, said communities needed to embrace affordable housing projects like Orchard Commons in Allendale. Seven of the 10 tenants at the commons are working, and Allendale Mayor Vince Barra said it was his proudest accomplishment.

Toronto said the Allendale community had warmed to its new residents, and vice versa.

"The difference that stable, secure housing has on the lives of people at every point is just extraordinary," he said.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless/ Group Homes - CSP-NJ and CEC
Post by: Oratam_Weaping on August 03, 2011, 02:16:56 PM
Possible Formula - Profiteering from government and legal loopholes:

REALTOR: Group homes can be purchased by any private realty company. The Realty Company receives a real estate commission.
Any (Realtor, Buyer, Management Company, Contractor) any of whom can by law, also be officers, employees, partners, or associated with either CSP-NJ or  Butterfly Property Mgt.

BUYER: Theoretically, the buyer can be an investor associated in any way with CSP-NJ, or Butterfly Property Mgt. or another hidden collaborator,
using Federal and/or state grants and low interest loans. The buyer can also be the realtor.
The Buyer receives Rental Income directly or indirectly from Social Services, or cash or direct deposit from a monthly disability check, or/and each, and also Federal Grants, and loans.

MANAGEMENT MAINTENANCE: The management company can receive additional grants for management through HUD or other Government Agencies; The management company can also be the realtor, or an officer or employee of CSP-NJ.

I have learned though reliable sources that CSP-NJ and it's Collaborative Realty Provider has plans to purchase Hackensack properties though undisclosed realtors. CSP-NJ and Community Enterprises (Formerly Butterfly Property Mgt) are gearing up to purchase large single and multifamily homes to convert to GROUP HOMES for the HOMELESS. Group homes do not require permits or variances. The ideal group home is in good condition and in a better neighborhood. A single bedroom in a group home that is well kept can realistically hold two to three twin size beds, in the case of older mansions  (a large 16 x 18 Bedroom) or a living-room, it can be used as a bedroom and be outfitted with four single beds.
There is no way to monitor housing applicants present is cash money is paid. Also a group home resident does not have to adhere to the same guidlines that the CFounty has recently placed on residents on the homeless shelter regarding panhandling, loitering, public drinking, etc.
It is impossible for housing inspectors  to keep track of how many persons are actually living in a group home due to transfers, and with a private agency registration or housing information which can be private.  A group home does not have to be under the Hackensack Housing Authority. 

Where there is a loan there will likely be one bank who will also benefit.

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on November 11, 2011, 08:44:05 AM
YouTube Description: Lisa Voyticki from WMBC interviews Julia Orlando, Director of the Bergen County Homeless Shelter in Hackensack and Rose Inguanti from the County Executive's office to discuss the increasing number of homeless in Bergen County.

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on January 26, 2012, 09:52:21 AM
Volunteers conduct annual homeless count in Bergen County
Last updated: Wednesday January 25, 2012, 6:25 PM
The Record

The man on the park bench in a Hackensack had bundled up against the morning chill so that only his eyes were visible.

Robert Gordon, 27, had been evicted from an apartment in August and lived on the streets until Oct. 7, when he arrived at the shelter.

When three volunteers approached him Wednesday morning, he tugged down his scarf a bit to talk.

Yes, he was homeless, the man said. And yes, he’d be willing to talk with them. But someone else from the same survey had already gotten to him.

That’s how things went for dozens of volunteers who fanned out across Bergen County at dawn, scouring parks, riverbanks, bridges and food pantries to conduct the annual Point-in-Time homelessness survey. The survey is conducted nationwide every two years to create a one-day snapshot of homelessness in the United States. Bergen County conducts the survey every year.

Canvassers found 1,524 homeless Bergen County residents last year, about one-third of them children, said Bari-Lynne Schwartz, planning officer for the Bergen County Department of Human Services.

That figure included about 25 people who — like the man in the park — were classified as “unsheltered” homeless, meaning they were living in cars or on the streets, Schwartz said.

“It was a real mind-opening experience to realize that there are homeless people living in Bergen County,” said Jessica Molina of Mahwah, one of the volunteers who approached the man in Hackensack.

Molina and two other volunteers stopped at several locations to look for homeless people. Among them was Garden State Plaza in Paramus, where a homeless person reportedly was living in a parked car. Their search, however, proved fruitless.

They did locate a homeless man in Ridgewood who did not wish to be surveyed. So they counted him and left him alone.

Volunteers at shelters, churches and various agencies had better luck, especially at the Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services Center in Hackensack, where the county’s sixth-annual Homeless Connect program offered people a fried chicken lunch, haircuts, clothing, toiletries, gift cards and referrals to other agencies.

The most popular item, however, turned out to be 90 brand new winter coats and 72 woolen caps donated by the New York Giants Foundation.

“It was a frenzy here,” Julia Orlando, director of the 90-bed shelter, said of the blue jackets with the Giants logo. “Everyone wanted a Giants coat.”

The gift made Robert Gordon’s day. The 27-year-old had been evicted from an apartment in August and lived on the streets until Oct. 7, when he arrived at the shelter.

“It’s pretty cool actually,” Gordon said, stuffing the cap back into the pocket of his Giant’s coat. “I’ve never had a Giants’ jacket, but to have one that was actually donated by the New York Giants — that was actually an honor.”

Email: ensslin@northjersey.com
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on February 05, 2012, 12:54:33 AM
At Project Homeless in Hackensack, helping those in need
Last updated: Friday February 3, 2012, 10:22 AM
Hackensack Chronicle

[Picture omitted]
William Klinger, a guest, having his hair cut by Danielle Laczko and Tara Finley from the Parisian Beauty Academy.

Part of the Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services Center's mission is to end homelessness by providing a full continuum of housing services, including shelter and permanent placement.

Since its opening in 2009, the center has housed 225 individuals back in the community, and it has only gotten started.

"The ultimate goal is to shut this place down," said Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan. "But we've got a long way to go. We as a society have to be able to house people in decent, affordable housing and it's very difficult to do." According to a Point-In-Time survey conducted last year, more than 1,500 people in Bergen County are homeless, 32 percent of whom are children.

The issues tied to homelessness are intricate.

Often, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and financial struggles can leave a person no where to go. But the castle-like haven on South River Street facilitated with 90 beds and meal service has a year-round welcome mat and a place to hang one's hat.

"That's what's so great about this center," said Julia Orlando, the shelter's director. "The fact that we have all these people here and there's a connection. We keep them housed, because we don't let them fall through the cracks."

The facility is the result of a merger of several other shelters that closed and relocated to it, including Peter's Place on Kansas Street. Agencies including Bergen Regional Medical Center, New Jersey Buddies, Inc., North Jersey Friendship House, Women's Rights Information Center, the Center for Food Action and Advance Housing support the shelter.

Hope, brotherhood and fortitude filled the friendly facility as 161 people filed into the dining room for a hearty, home-cooked meal at the center's sixth annual Project Homeless Connect event on Jan. 25.

Participants were given free flu shots, food stamps, haircuts, manicures and a slew of information about education, Medicaid, employment, HIV counseling, mental health and rehabilitation services. Guests also received bags with donated gift cards, warm clothing, personal hygiene items and socks, above basic human compassion.

"Today is a great day, and a very tough day," said Donovan. "It's wonderful if they have trouble, they know they can come here and get help, but it breaks your heart, because people are homeless and in need of assistance. The other side of it is that people want to help, and that's a wonderful thing."

"What's unique about this facility is that not everyone that's in the building is homeless," Orlando said. "There are individuals in the building who the county and the housing authority have actually housed that returned back for services, and we've become their lifeline."

Apart from the everyday walk-ins, the shelter boasts a robust outreach effort from eager volunteers who bring in many homeless people by establishing a search team to find them, and by word of mouth. Orlando has travelled to hospitals, churches, synagogues, and rotary groups to garner needy individuals.

"The first thing about ending homelessness is knowing where people are," said Orlando.

A team was sent out at 3 a.m. that morning to locate homeless people from under bridges and parks.

"We're the only county that has a facility like this," she said. "We really have set the standard for how you manage homelessness."

For Mercedes Alfonso, a professor at Bergen Community College who had headed the education table, hope is at the heart of homeless management.

"One of the things we do here is give people hope," she said, citing struggle and hard work as the precursors of success.

"You need an education; education is life," she said.

Email: albrizio@northjersey.com or call 201-894-6700
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on July 15, 2012, 10:37:51 PM
A new face for homelessness in Bergen County (http://www.northjersey.com/news/162499256_A_new_face_for_homelessness.html?page=all)
Sunday, July 15, 2012    Last updated: Sunday July 15, 2012, 9:43 AM
The Record

Bergen County officials say they've noticed a different kind of resident showing up lately at the county's homeless shelter in Hackensack — people who lost their jobs during the recession and have since been unemployed.


Like many of the newest residents of the county shelter, Jim Serino became unemployed. Now, he's learning a new skill.

When the county shelter first opened in October 2009, the focus was on the kind of chronically homeless people who were found living under bridges, in cars or generally on the street, the shelter director, Julia Orlando, said last week.

The county was able to identify about 89 chronically homeless people, and for the most part, their needs were met by finding them transitional housing, Orlando said.

"We've made a significant impact on homelessness on the streets," Orlando said. "But we started seeing newer homeless, people who had lost jobs or were underemployed and unable to sustain themselves in this economy."

Many of these people had more skills and education than the chronically homeless, she said. So to address their needs, a group of people from several county agencies started a pilot project aimed more at finding jobs than housing.

So far, they say, the project has shown some promising results: one woman landed a job as a paralegal, one man found work as a cook, and another was able to do some warehouse work until his class time at Bergen Community College led him back to school.

Four shelter residents also have undergone a course on weatherization training offered at the Bergen County Community Action Program and are expected to get their certificates later this summer.
A new start

One of them is Jim Serino, a Bogota man who lost his job as a computer systems administrator and arrived at the shelter in April. Two weeks after his arrival, he signed up for the weatherization training, which teaches people how to insulate and seal homes.

"I thought I'd try something else for a change," he said, "since no one is hiring me with all my expertise."

Their numbers are small, but the impact on their lives is significant, the residents say.

"I'm on the road to getting my life back to where I can support myself," said Amanda, who has been offered a $48,000-a-year paralegal job with the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, pending the outcome of a background check. She agreed to be interviewed on the condition that her last name not be used, citing the stigma associated with being homeless.

Amanda, a 55-year-old Ridgefield Park woman, said she had worked for about 25 years as a paralegal before being laid off in August 2011 because of the weak economy.

At first she lived with her sister and then with some friends. Unable to find a job or contribute to the rent, she called the shelter and arrived on May 10.

"I had sent my résumés out and got no calls back," she said. "I was trying to do it on my own to get back on my feet, but nothing was working."

She added, "It was the best thing I did to come here."

Originally not part of the pilot project, Amanda was added at the insistence of one of the shelter employees who thought she would make a good candidate for the program.

She was one of five people with job skills that Orlando forwarded to Tammy Molinelli, executive director of the Bergen County Workforce Investment board for help with job coaching and placement.

In Amanda's case, Molinelli said she heard about the paralegal opening in a dinner conversation with her husband, John, the Bergen County prosecutor.

But Tammy Molinelli said Amanda earned the job because of her work skills and experience.

"She went through every single hoop the same as everyone else. There was certainly no favoritism for these folks," Tammy Molinelli said.

Another member of the pilot project was Martyn Gourrier, a 55-year-old Teaneck man who was able to find some work in two different warehouse jobs.

Gourrier arrived at the shelter on May 4 after being released from prison. He served a sentence after a conviction for eluding a police officer. Gourrier described himself as an Air Force veteran with a master's degree in economics from the University of Southern California.

He has since left the warehouse jobs to pursue a degree in computer science at Bergen Community College.

"It's a step up," Gourrier said of the pilot project. "I see some of the people that I grew up with who are homeless. That could be me if it wasn't for the grace of God and this program," he said.

Freeholder Robert Hermansen, who is the board's liaison to both the shelter and the Workforce Investment Board, said the pilot project will save taxpayers money whenever a resident can move out of the shelter after landing a job.

"Not only are we getting these individuals back to work, now they are becoming productive members of society," Hermansen said. "It's a win-win for everybody."

Related content:
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on December 07, 2012, 11:19:29 AM
$400,000 grant will help Bergen’s homeless (http://www.northjersey.com/news/182490031__400_000_grant_will_help_Bergen_s_homeless.html)
Friday, December 7, 2012
The Record

HACKENSACK – The Bergen County Community Action Partnership has been awarded a $400,000 state grant to help the homeless.

The Hackensack-based non-profit will use the grant for rent assistance and stabilization services for 78 income-eligible clients living on the streets or in emergency shelters in Bergen County. It can also be used to help individuals in imminent risk of homelessness due to an eviction.

The money was earmarked by the state Department of Community Affairs Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing program.

Motor Vehicle Chairman Raymond P. Martinez visited the Hackensack-based non-profit Thursday to announce the grant. He and other Cabinet members in the Christie administration have visited non-profits and charitable organizations as part of the governor’s monthlong "Season of Service" program.

— Hannan Adely
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on January 29, 2013, 10:52:22 PM
County to host “Homeless Connect” project (http://blog.northjersey.com/bergenbeat/7039/county-to-host-homeless-connect-project/)
Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 5:48 pm
by John Ensslin

Bergen County will host its 7th annual “Project Homeless Connect” Wednesday, Jan. 30 at the county shelter at 120 South River Street in Hackensack.
The event – which tries to connect the homeless with information, services and assistance – coincides with the annual national “Point in Time” survey, which tries to count the number of homeless people in each community.
Last year’s count found 461 homeless people in the county. Of those people, nearly 200 received information and assistance from the county.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on January 30, 2013, 06:37:19 PM
Bergen County homeless offered array of services during annual count (http://www.northjersey.com/news/Bergen_County_homeless_offered_array_of_services_during_annual_count.html?page=all)
Wednesday January 30, 2013, 5:53 PM
The Record

More than 150 homeless people took advantage of an array of help - ranging from new underwear and fresh fruit to legal advice and housing assistance, during Bergen County’s 7th annual Project Homeless Connect on Wednesday.

Charles D. Christman looks for some clothes as volunteer Kimberly Chevalier helps him.

The event, held at the county shelter in Hackensack, also coincided with the county’s annual “Point in Time” head count of the homeless. The programs are an effort to catalogue the problem of homelessness in the county and work to line people up with services to help them get off the street.

Last year’s census counted 461 homeless people in the county, including nearly 200 who connected with assistance. This year the program was on track for helping a similar number of people, said Rocco Mazza, a spokesman for the Department of Human Services.

Many of them walked out with large Whole Foods bags stuffed with donated items from a variety of sources.

For some, being counted, if only for one day, lent a measure of dignity to some otherwise hard times.

Laurie Calvert, 56, of Palisades Park, has been living at the shelter for three months. The last year has been tough, said Calvert, who wore a neck brace from an accident that left her with a broken neck. Her 93-year-old father died and she’s been unable to find work.

She had already connected with most of the services that were being offered on Wednesday. But she appreciated that they were there.

“It’s a wonderful feeling that we’re not being stereotyped - that they know we’re not all lazy ignorant alcoholics,” Calvert said.

For 50-year-old Marie Sheehan, who has been living at the homeless shelter for about a month, she got a haircut that accomplished two goals: appearance and self esteem.

“I can’t afford to go out and get this, “ she said as hairdresser Alexa Arrabito trained a blow dryer on Sheehan’s freshly cut hair in a room at the shelter converted into a makeshift salon.

“They’re good enough to do this,” she added. “And when you feel good, you get better.”

The academy has provided free haircuts for the homeless every year of the program, Mazza said.

For Arrabito, the experience was priceless.

“When it comes down to it, this is pretty much what it’s all about,” Arrabito said as she put the finishing touches on Sheehan’s hair. “You want to make people feel good.

“That’s the only kind of pay we need,” Arrabito added. “Money can’t buy that.”

Sheehan said she hoped to move in to her own apartment next month. Sometime thereafter she plans to pay a visit to the Academy and see Arrabito again as a walk-in customer.

Email: ensslin@northjersey.com
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on January 30, 2013, 11:40:45 PM
Scenes from Project Homeless Connect (http://blog.northjersey.com/bergenbeat/7046/scenes-from-project-homeless-connect/)
Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 9:00 pm
by John Ensslin

Here is some video that goes with the story I wrote today on Bergen County Project Homeless Connect.
In this clip, Susan Nottingham, a supervisor with the Department of Human Services, explains some of the items given to homeless residents on the same day that the county conducts a census of the homeless population.

And in this brief clip, hairdresser Alexa Arrabito gives a free haircut to Maire Sheehan at the county’s homeless shelter in Hackensack. Several shelter residents received haircuts from the staff at the Parisian Beauty Academy.

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on May 01, 2013, 09:19:29 PM
North Jersey religious leaders push for affordable housing for homeless (http://www.northjersey.com/news/205176601_Religious_leaders_push_for_affordable_housing_lobby_for_homeless.html?page=all)
Monday, April 29, 2013  Last updated: Monday April 29, 2013, 7:47 AM


Glenn Brock Jr. would like nothing more than his own place to live.

That's what the 20-year-old Boonton High School graduate came to tell a group of religious leaders gathered Thursday night at the Bergen County Administration Building for a hearing on the need for affordable housing.

The interfaith group is part of a statewide effort to get Governor Christie and the Legislature to focus on addressing the needs of the homeless, seniors and the disabled for decent housing.

Brock was one of several homeless individuals testifying at last week's session. He's been without a place to live since he graduated from high school a couple of years ago. The product of a broken home, he had been living with his grandparents in Lincoln Park until then.

"Then I went to be with my mom, but I was living in her car because she was living in a rooming house and there was no place for me," he said. Brock worked a series of seasonal jobs before landing maintenance work at a local mall. He was making $11 an hour — hardly adequate to cover rent in Bergen County.

"It was really hard. A couple of months after I went back to my mother, her car broke down," he recalled. "I was living on the street for six months."

He carried what he owned in a book bag and used gas station bathrooms to wash up for work. "I was sleeping in the mall during the day."

Late last year, he was laid off. Then a month ago someone told him about the shelter at the Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services Center in Hackensack. It's not where Brock wants to be, but it's a considerable improvement over the streets.

And as center Executive Director Julia Orlando noted, it also offers individuals like him an opportunity through a new program run jointly with the county One Stop employment center.

"With Glenn we're working to improve his employability," Orlando said. "He's young. He can learn new skills. So he can live in the county center while we're doing that."

Orlando was at the hearing not only to tell the religious leaders about the programs the center offers, but to explain how economic conditions have driven growing numbers of young people into homelessness — "He's very reflective of a growing population we're seeing at the center," she said of Brock.

Rabbi Neal Borovitz, who heads the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, is one of the organizers of the interfaith effort on homelessness. That effort has brought together representatives of Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh congregations.

"All of our faiths require us to reach out to the homeless and the poor," said Borovitz, who's also the rabbi at Temple Avodat Shalom in River Edge.

"It's extremely important for the interfaith community to come together to address social issues," agreed Mohamed El Filali, outreach director at the Islamic Center of Passaic County in Paterson. "It's an opportunity for us to bring together our American values."

Last week's gathering in Hackensack was the second of three interfaith events across the state designed to target homelessness. Religious and non-profit leaders from around New Jersey have held a lobbying day in Trenton and another event is planned in South Jersey.

They've also approached Christie.

"We've requested meetings with the governor's office, but we have not been successful yet," said Jacob Toporek, executive director of the New Jersey State Association of Jewish Federations, who is handling the interfaith group's government relations efforts.

The coalition is asking the governor and the Legislature to commit to spending $375 million in federal funds to help homeowners who are at risk of losing their homes because they can no longer afford their mortgages. It also wants the administration to back faster spending of municipal affordable-housing trust funds.

The group sent a letter to the governor's office in November, and a follow-up the next month, but has not heard back.

"With this administration, it's hard to get a response until they're ready to give you a response," Toporek said.

The governor's press office didn't respond to a request for comment.

Christie is in the midst of legal battles with the Legislature, local governments and affordable-housing advocates. The administration's effort to take control of an estimated $166 million in municipal affordable-housing trust funds was blocked by an appellate court, but could well end up before the state Supreme Court.

The governor's attempts to eliminate the Council on Affordable Housing and alter the rules on funding and building affordable units also are before the courts.

"I can understand, given the lawsuits, why the governor's office might not want to sit down with us to discuss affordable housing," Toporek noted. "But they understand the faith-based community has a certain point of view, and we represent a certain number of constituents and, frankly, voters. I hope they listen to the message and give it strong consideration."

Email: lipman@northjersey.com
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on July 18, 2013, 11:33:31 PM
Police reach out to Hackensack homeless with water, fruit during heatwave
Thursday July 18, 2013, 6:39 PM
The Record

HACKENSACK – A trio of police officers scoured parks, alleys, walkways and woods Thursday looking for places homeless might go.

Bergen County Sheriff's Officer Christian Nunez hands off an orange to a homeless man on bench along the Hackensack River. Hackensack Sgt. James Smith is on the right. 

The officers, members of a police quality of life initiative, would normally be checking for violations or outstanding warrants. But this week, with temperatures near 100 degrees, they had their eye on safety and hydration.

“It’s hot out there and one of the things we’re doing is interacting with people,” said Hackensack Police Director Michael Mordaga. “We’re giving them cold water and fruit and explaining to them they’re better off hanging out in homeless shelter.”

The city’s homeless population factors high into policing efforts in the city, Mordaga said. With county services based in Hackensack, a 90-bed homeless shelter on River Street, and scattered encampments, the homeless are a constant presence with a unique set of problems and concerns.

On Thursday, the main one was the brutal heat wave. The officers had helped about 25 people by 3 p.m., and about 100 since Monday. They also checked for signs of dehydration, like dizziness and heavy breathing.

“I haven’t had one person turn it down,” said Hackensack Police Sgt. James Smith, referring to the offering of water and oranges. “Who would say no to an orange?”

Smith serves on the quality-of-life team with Officer Alexander Lopez-Arenas of the Hackensack Police Department and Officer Christian Nunez of the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office.

David Martinez, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said the homeless outreach was one of many public efforts to keep people safe, including providing cooling centers and reminding people to check on the elderly and pets.

Police, who rode into parking lots on River Street, helped a shirtless man sitting in the sun on a bench near a Costco store with beer on his breath. He took the water and orange. “If you want, you can go down to the shelter,” Smith told him.

At another stop, in front of the public library, Jaydee Hughes, 41, of Ohio, who said he was in the city on a work-release program, also accepted water and fruit. “I don’t have anywhere to go,” he said. “I have no family out here. I’m just trying to stay cool.”

Email: adely@northjersey.com

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Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on August 05, 2013, 12:29:46 AM
Homeless feel targeted by Hackensack's quality-of-life crackdown
Sunday, August 4, 2013    Last updated: Sunday August 4, 2013, 11:27 PM
The Record
Donald Mayfield doesn’t deny he has “a bad criminal record” that includes carjacking, kidnapping and weapons offenses.
But with treatment and medication for paranoid schizophrenia, he changed his life, he said. He has stayed out of trouble and is no longer “delusional” or hearing voices.

Hackensack and Bergen County police looking for homeless people last month along the Hackensack River under the Anderson Street bridge. They were offering water and fruit to the homeless during the heat wave. 

Donald Mayfield, who lives at a homeless shelter, says he was arrested for no good reason.

Mayfield said he suffered a setback last month when Hackensack police stopped and arrested him and two other residents of the Bergen County homeless shelter for obstructing a sidewalk. He spent seven days in jail, panicked about missing his medication or losing housing. Now, he’s worried about going back onto the streets again. He was swept up in a 2-month-old initiative launched by Hackensack Police Director Michael Mordaga to crack down on quality-of-life crimes at a time when the city is investing in a major downtown rehabilitation push that has attracted developers with plans for high-end housing.

As part of the effort, police frequently patrol places where homeless gather, stop them, check ID, identifications, run warrants and issue summonses for violations.

Police say they’re making the streets safer and cleaner; many residents and business owners agree. But homeless people say they’re being harassed. Mordaga, who took charge of the department in February, said police have compassion but zero tolerance for crime and violations.

“It’s not just people standing asking for money,” Mordaga said. “It’s an intimidating situation where people are afraid. The majority of these people have extensive criminal records,” he said about the homeless.

Homelessness is a longstanding concern in Hackensack. As county seat, the city is headquarters for social service programs and a county homeless shelter that attracts people from all over Bergen and beyond

The initiative — which also involves the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office and Little Ferry and South Hackensack police departments — is for the welfare of both the community and the homeless themselves, Mordaga said.

Police have been stopping people to ask how they are and where they’re from, so they can know who is staying in Hackensack and who might need help. Mordaga said police are entitled to ask the homeless for ID, but people aren’t obligated to provide it.

Mordaga noted that people are taken “almost daily” from the street by ambulance because of alcohol intoxication. During a recent heat wave, police went to homeless hangouts and encampments and handed out fruit and water.

Many of the homeless are from out of town and police have to keep their eye on them, Mordaga said.

“These aren’t people down on their luck because they lost their jobs on Wall Street. The majority are criminals out there with lengthy criminal records,” he said.

Police knew Donald Mayfield’s record when he was stopped July 17 because an officer had questioned him days earlier during a random stop. Mayfield said he walked a block from the shelter to Hudson Street and stopped with three others to pool money for water and Gatorade.

Officers spotted the exchange of cash and stopped to question them. A police search turned up nothing illicit, but Mayfield and the others were arrested on the charge of obstructing a public passageway. A 21-year-old college student in the group who recently was kicked out of her home was released within 45 minutes. Another man was jailed for 13 days.

Mayfield, 44, who was locked up for a week, said he was distraught and panicked in jail over whether he’d lose his place at the shelter and miss his monthly anti-psychotic medication. Now he worries he’ll be arrested again.

Mayfield, who broke down twice while telling his story, feared leaving the shelter days ago for a doctor’s appointment: “I had to tell myself, stop looking behind you,” he said.

Up to that point, Mayfield had “come a long way,” said Julia Orlando, director of the county’s Housing, Health and Human Services Center in Hackensack. He is respectful and tries hard to do right, she said, and he’s a candidate for assistance for permanent housing.

Orlando said she is concerned about the police effort and the July 17 incident in which Mayfield and two other shelter residents were arrested.

“We don’t want to be criminalizing the homeless because it’s not good for anyone,” she said. “It doesn’t address the underlying problem. It pushes them farther and farther away from services. If people are afraid to come here, we’re not going to be able to assist them.”

The police approach varies in other communities. In Englewood, Chief Arthur O’Keefe said officers will approach anyone who appears to be homeless to check if they need assistance or to direct them to services. The focus is not criminal enforcement, he said, but police will ticket for violations such as open containers of alcohol.

In Passaic, police generally leave the homeless alone unless they’re responding to a complaint of a violation, said Detective Andy White, a police spokesman. Police take panhandling seriously, he said, and will issue warnings and summonses.

Hackensack’s Mordaga said it was not unusual for bail to be set for people with criminal histories or who are from out of state. Mayfield, a former Bergen County resident, had been living in Mississippi prior to coming to the shelter.

“Our officers don’t routinely arrest people for blocking sidewalks,” he said. “That’s not something our officers do, but if they’re standing there and blocking the sidewalk and refuse to move, and create a disturbance, they’re going to be arrested.”

Mayfield claimed he didn’t resist and wasn’t asked to move, and that he invited police to search him. During an interview with The Record, a Hudson Street resident came out of his home to defend Mayfield, saying he saw the incident and that Mayfield did nothing wrong.

Another man, Terri, who wanted only his first name used, said he got a summons for an open alcohol container. At a court appearance July 10, he said he was accused of hindering apprehension because he gave a false name. But the police officer had misspelled his last name, he said.

He was locked up for three days over the charge and was released only because his brother bailed him out. “They’re trying to make me a criminal,” he said.

Terri said he’d been stopped by police three or four other times in the past six weeks.

“They’re stopping people for no reason,” he said. “Me and my friend were smoking cigarettes. Three cars stopped. They said we can’t stand there.”

Others say homelessness, and the resulting quality-of-life problems, have hurt business and scared away customers.

Jade Linton, a retail manager at Pep Boys on River Street, said homeless people often use the automotive store’s bathroom; they use the sink to bathe, leaving a mess. “From what they say, they don’t have anywhere else to go,” Linton said.

But she also welcomed the police effort, saying the presence of homeless hurts business.

“It scares away customers,” she said. “It deters them and brings the value of the place down.”

At Costco, a general manager complained to police that panhandlers approached customers two or three times a day and sometimes were confrontational. One threatened him with a hypodermic needle, he said. On a few occasions, cars in the parking lot were broken into.

The businesses are next to a riverside walkway, which was popular with homeless until recently, when Mordaga had it cleaned up, had shrubs trimmed and focused patrols there.

James Brady — who stayed at the county homeless shelter until a week ago, when he moved into an apartment — said the homeless community included troublesome people, but that wasn’t the whole picture.

“There’s a large range of personalities among the homeless,” he said. “That’s what bothers me the most, when they pick on people who don’t deserve it. I don’t accept that.”

He also said that homeless people in the past were left alone if they stayed out of sight and kept their area clean. “That has changed,” said Brady, who added that he had been stopped “six or seven times in as many weeks.”

Other homeless people said the city is becoming less welcoming.

For Kathleen Salvo, who lives and owns a business near the county’s homeless shelter, that’s precisely the message the city should send. She said people regularly came into her neighborhood and slept in back yards and urinated on lawns.

“It’s not just the homeless. There are people who come here and just hang out from all over because we let them,” she said.

Salvo said the city’s reputation has changed for the better because of improved policing.

“We think this is not hurting anyone’s civil rights; it’s a safety measure,” she said. “They’re finding people that have records and that shouldn’t be in Hackensack.”

Homelessness factors high in policing, Mordaga said, but he noted that the initiative also focused on motor vehicle violations and narcotics.

Bergen County has made strides to reduce homelessness in recent years, say community leaders, with improvements in services and more emphasis on moving people into permanent housing.

David Martinez, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, which is part of the initiative, said homelessness was “not only a Hackensack problem, but a county problem overall.”

“We’ve noticed countless instances where we would find squatters in abandoned buildings or in a resident’s back yard or shed,” he said.

He added that the quality-of-life initiative is aimed at improving conditions both for the homeless and the community.

Orlando, the county housing and human services director, said the goals of public agencies including police are the same — to get the homeless off the streets and into services and housing.

“As a homelessness advocate, our main focus is to get people into housing,” she said. “If people are arrested, that goes on their record and it makes it harder for us to do that for them.”

Email: adely@northjersey.com
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Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Homer Jones on August 05, 2013, 10:53:44 AM
Great move by Mike and the police. There is no doubt that Hackensack has an image problem and part of that image comes from members of the homeless community wandering Main Street, Hudson Street and along the backs of the parks. This is not the image that the City needs to project as it attempts to revitalize it's central business district.
I am sure that this pro active policing will meet some resistance from homeless advocates; but, this approach is necessary to support the stakeholders in the City like the homeowners and business owners who have their roots in the Community.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on August 07, 2013, 02:13:23 PM
Do N.J. Homeless Harm Our Quality of Life? (http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/style/do-nj-homeless-harm-our-quality-of-life)
Tuesday, 06 August 2013 12:17 

Share on Facebook!The above may be open for debate. But Hackensack police have been cracking down on quality of life crimes for about two months now as the community tries to rehabilitate its downtown area and add housing.

Policemen often patrol areas where the homeless gather, check them for identifications, run warrants and issue tickets for any violations.

Hackensack Police Director Michael Mordaga says tightening of quality-of-life laws helps both the community and the homeless. But according to NJ.com, director of the Housing, Health and Human Services Center in Hackensack Julia Orlando said arresting them discourages homeless people from seeking help at the shelter.

Mordaga said many of the homeless have extensive criminal records. Hackensack has a homeless shelter that brings in people from Bergen County and outside areas.

NorthJersey.com reported that police from Hackensack and Bergen County were looking for homeless people along the Hackensack River under the Anderson Street bridge when the heat was at its highest in July. The officers brought fruit and water to the homeless people.

Methods of confronting the homeless vary across New Jersey. Police Chief Arthur O’Keefe of Englewood said officers ticket violations such as open containers of alcohol among the homeless, according to NorthJersey.com. They approach the homeless people to see if they need assistance.

Police in Passaic only respond to complaints of violations against the homeless, and will issue tickets for panhandling.

Over in Paterson, a recent Quality of Life sweep by the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office led to the arrest of 13 people, including a 17-year-old from Clifton found with a loaded revolver and a 15-year-old from Paterson who was selling heroin,according to NorthJersey.com.

Two loaded guns and varying amounts of heroin, crack cocaine and marijuana were taken during the sweep, according to Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on August 08, 2013, 07:14:19 AM
The police are doing the right thing.  Homelessness has been a big issue in Hackensack for a good 20 years. 

One is left wondering WHY the police haven't done this for all these years.  And the answer is that there has always been a police chief that was deeply connected with politics. First Assemblyman Ken Zisa and then former Bergen County Freeholder Tomas Padilla.  Everything the police are doing to monitor the homeless is just so politically incorrect that those guys just wouldn't do it.  Mordaga has no political ambitions, no political agenda.  He IS the right choice to head the police dept.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on August 09, 2013, 10:22:53 AM
Hackensack's quality of life campaign targets city's homeless
Friday August 9, 2013, 10:04 AM
Hackensack Chronicle
HACKENSACK - The general manager of Costco Wholesale on South River Street filed a complaint with the Hackensack Police Department on June 26. The police report detailed "a number of negative interactions with local homeless."

Hackensack police Sgt. Scott Sybel, Police Officer Rocco Duarte and Bergen County Sheriff's Officer Alex Mena investigate a tent city in front of the Hackensack River under a Route 4 overpass on July 12.

According to the report, panhandlers hang out in front of the warehouse store two-three times per day. Occasionally, the report states, homeless will become "aggressive" and "confrontational." The homeless, "meander through the parking lot looking to 'assist' customers."

Employees of Costco are "threatened" and told "what are you going to do about it," the report states.

One time, the report continues, an employee was threatened with a hypodermic needle by a homeless person who said he had AIDS "thus insinuating that the needle also contained AIDS."

Next door at Pep Boys, another police report details past problems with homeless people using store bathrooms and leaving them in disarray after bathing and defecating on the floor.

Immediately south of both stores on South River Street is the Bergen County Health and Human Services Center - the lone homeless shelter in Bergen County.

As shelter administrators said they're working to reduce the number of homeless by getting them social services, drug and alcohol treatment, job training and permanent housing, police said the overwhelming majority of homeless on the streets have extensive criminal records and they aim to strictly enforce the law against panhandling and drinking in public.

Both sides said they have a cooperative working relationship despite their seemingly conflicting agendas.

Out in the field

On June 8, The Hackensack Chronicle accompanied police as they investigated a report of a tent city.

After slogging through about 100 feet of brush, Sgt. Scott Sybel, Police Officer Rocco Duardo and Bergen County Sheriff's Officer Alex Mena found themselves on the Hackensack River waterfront under a Route 4 overpass - a location just south of the posh Shops at Riverside.

Police found three men living in tents.

"We came to check after the rainstorm to see if they're alright," said Sybel, who also said he has been dealing with homeless his entire 21-year career. "We got word from residents and business owners that they were back there."

Immediately evident are several plastic garbage bags neatly filled with empty beer cans.

Michael Oliver said he's been living in the tent city for about a year and on the streets for 13 years. Oliver said he attributes his homelessness to the use of crack cocaine, which he said he has not used since 1999.

Asked if he uses the shelter's services, Oliver said, "The shelter sucks. The services blow because you gotta have a residence. I can't get a residence without help."

Oliver said he's had the same employer for years, working odd jobs as a "maintenance man."

The work, according to Oliver, was steady but because of alcoholism, "I blew that."

A second man who declined to give his name said there are "too many rules" to follow in the homeless shelter. "I don't want to get up a six o'clock if I don't want to. I don't want to eat breakfast at eight o'clock if I don't want to." He labeled the shelter, "Another jail from hell."

A third man, sporting a black eye and bruising on his body, identified himself as George, 51. He said he got into a "fist fight" in Johnson Park concerning an issue with a friend, but declined to provide more details.

George said he came to Hackensack from Pennsylvania in 1998. He said he is amenable to using services provided by the shelter, but was on a waiting list.

According to Sybel, "They had just cleaned this [tent city] out a couple of months ago. They had trucks in there. Now they're back."

Enforcing the law

Hackensack Police Director Michael Mordaga is leading the charge to clean-up the streets after attending several community meetings.

Mordaga insists his officers will act with compassion and professionalism while aggressively enforcing the law in Hackensack, the Bergen County seat with an estimated population of almost 44,000 residents, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

"The complaints that I received were based on a lot of quality of life issues within the city," Mordaga explained. "Such as narcotics use, motor vehicle violations, public drunkenness, issues with the homeless."

In addition, Mordaga emphasized that city ordinances addressing panhandling and public urination will be actively enforced.

According to Mordaga, in June, Hackensack police "interacted with" about 50 people on the street who asserted they use the services at the homeless shelter.

"Almost all of them have criminal records," said Mordaga. "Most of them have narcotics records. Some of them have extensive criminal records. Three of those individuals have prior arrests for murder, armed robbery, kidnapping. So a lot of them have very serious criminal records and substance abuse problems. And these are the people who are walking around in our community."

Mordaga said that dealing with the homeless uses a lot resources.

"A day does not go by - not one single day goes by - that we don't have to respond and call for an ambulance to take a person who is inebriated off the street," Mordaga said.

"We do have compassion," Mordaga said later in an interview in his office. "But we are going to enforce the law, and we're going to enforce the law strictly."

According to Mordaga, police frequently refer homeless people to the shelter to obtain services.

Mordaga said there is extensive littering of liquor bottles, public urination, syringes, narcotics paraphernalia and sleeping bags in bushes, especially along the Hackensack Waterfront Walkway.

According to Mordaga, the Department of Public Works has cut away the brush along fences on the waterfront so patrols can get a better look at the what's going on.

Mordaga and city residents also complain that the shelter is so nice and provides so many services that it's known far and wide, attracting even out of state homeless.

Mordaga cites a July 9 dispute at the homeless shelter as a case in point.

According to police, at approximately 3 p.m., a homeless man staying at the shelter allegedly pulled a knife, fled the shelter and was later arrested by Duardo at Hudson Street and Broadway.

Kenneth Pykko, 54, from Houston, Texas was charged with possession of weapon. Police said Pykko told them he left Houston a month prior to his arrest.

Police also said the homeless are using abandoned properties for shelter, drugs use and alcohol consumption, and are creating an unsafe environment in parks.

A joint effort

On July 12, the Chronicle again accompanied police as they patrolled throughout the city.

Mordaga was joined by Sgt. Jim Smith, Bergen County Sheriff's Sgt. James Hague, Sheriff's Officer Christian Nunez, police officers Alexander Lopez-Arenas, Ralph Cavallo and Anthony Duardo (Rocco Duardo's brother.)

At Johnson Park at the corner of River and East Anderson streets, Councilman Leonardo Battaglia had just called the police at approximately 10 a.m.

Battaglia was coaching the Hackensack Royals, a city Recreation Department soccer team for kids ages 9-12-years-old.

Battaglia said he has to frequently call the police.

"The homeless people, they're always around drinking beer, sleeping on the benches and they go to the bathrooms around here," asserted Battaglia, who said he's coached for 30 years. "It's dangerous for the simple reason that sometimes you got, as you see here, we got 9-year-olds, 10-year-olds... This River Walk should be for somebody to walk with a baby, with a carrier, but with all these guys around nobody wants to use it."

Mordaga explains that the city installed new benches in Johnson Park with armrests in the center to prevent people from sleeping on benches. Some of the center armrests have been torn off.

Within an hour, police escort four men out of the park, and later make three arrests including Jason Gardner, 25, a man found at Hudson Street and East Broadway who police say had an arrest warrant in Paramus for shoplifting.

Police said Gardner told them he was staying at the shelter

According to Mordaga, warrant arrests for people who tell police they're staying at the shelter are very common.

Joseph Lisanti, for example, was one of the first arrests made as a result of the collaboration between Hackensack police and the Sheriff's Office, according to Mordaga.

Lisanti was arrested on May 13 after he was spotted behind the bushes of a home. Police allege the caught Lisanti with burglary tools, heroin and jewelry taken from a home in Old Tappan.

Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino joined Mordaga for part of the tour. He said Mordaga asked for assistance and he was willing to collaborate.

"I saw the need for it," said Saudino, standing on the waterfront walkway behind Costco where many tree branches and shrubs were cut away from the hurricane fence. "Mike and I rode around, as we are doing right now, and saw certain things in the city. And I know Hackensack is trying very hard to clean up their city. And we're just doing our part."

Mordaga said the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office along with Little Ferry and South Hackensack are working jointly on the quality of life initiative.

Seeking shelter

Later, at an abandoned home at the corner of Hudson and Kansas streets, police are joined by the Hackensack Fire Department to secure the boarded property.

Smith and Hague enter the dark, dirty and disheveled house. The sergeants' flashlights reveal a kitchen littered with empty liquor bottles, drug paraphernalia and the remnants of a fire set in the sink.

The unkempt backyard is also strewn with trash, a supermarket shopping cart, beer cans and empty bottles of rum.

According to police, any empty property has the potential to become a drug den and a hangout spot for squatters.

Back on the waterfront behind Home Liquors, a man in a torpor sitting on wood pallets - a can of beer, a box of Pall Mall cigarettes and lighter at his side - declined an interview. It's early afternoon.

Hackensack residents said the presence of homeless who drink and who appear mentally ill is not limited to the waterfront.

"In the past we would have people from the shelter walking up and down the street aimless going from place to place," said Mary Ann Tamberelli, 66, a Broadway resident. "They would just sit there and if they had alcohol they would sit and drink. We had an incident when a guy just passed out. That was commonplace to see. Going into this summer it's much better.

Tamberelli provided an undated picture showing a man sleeping in the garden that sits in front of her next door neighbor's front porch. The man's legs are seen sticking out of the bushes, hanging over the red brick retaining wall.

According to Tamberelli, her daughter Marcie Pernetti had just pulled into the driveway with her 9-year-old daughter. Tamberelli said she called police who drove away with the man without incident.

While Hackensack police and residents spend part of their day dealing with the homeless, for Julia Orlando, the shelter director, the challenge is a full-time job.

Staying as "Guests"

During an interview on July 22, Orlando said the homeless who stay at the shelter are referred to as "guests" rather than residents because the goal is to get them permanent housing.

"Being that it is probably the nicest shelter, probably in the country, we have rules in place to make sure that people understand that this is not a permanent place," said Orlando.

According to Orlando, the center houses 90 men and women, and up to 105 guests during the winter.

Breakfast is served only to guests. "Lunch and dinner are provided to the community, which includes the working poor," said Orlando, who added that on any given day an extra 25-35 people are fed.

According to Orlando, the center is designed to be a one-stop collaborative between several entities that provide multiple services under one roof.

"People can come here to get a shower, wash their clothes, get their meals, the mail and apply for benefits such as food stamps and legal assistance," Orlando explained.

Officially, under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food stamps are now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

The 2013 New Jersey state budget allocated $1.445 billion for 896,585 residents receiving NJ SNAP benefits. The 2014 estimate increases the budget to $1.586 billion for 971,814 residents.

Orlando explained that when the center opened in 2009, half the shelter's homeless received benefits. Because of the one-stop-shopping system, Orlando said, the number has increased to 90 percent.

Orlando said they "try to move people back to the community they came from. Most often to subsidized housing." Many homeless receive temporary rental assistance through the Board of Social Services.

According to Orlando, "The criteria for shelter is that you need to be a Bergen County resident prior to homelessness." Out of county homeless "can stay for an emergency period" up to 72 hours.

Orlando said the shelter is licensed for 90-day stays.

"Some people are able to stay longer," said Orlando.

Asked if homeless may have unlimited residency at the shelter, Orlando said, "No it's not unlimited. At some point the person will have to be discharged. What you don't really want to do is discharge somebody back into homelessness. That's certainly not good for Hackensack. It's not good for the individual."

According to Orlando, over the last two years, two women stayed well over a year "because they were our most challenging individuals" who were dealing with "mental health and substance abuse issues."

Many shelter guests arrive immediately after being released from the Bergen County Jail, which is across the street. Orlando calls it "in-reach."

"So the folks that come to us from the jail, we've already interviewed them and pre-selected them prior to them coming to us," said Orlando, who explained that shelter staff visit the jail every week.

The collaboration, said Orlando, "is really designed to make sure that when people come out [especially if they've gone through their substance abuse program] that we can keep people on track, help them get jobs, help them get apartments and get on with their lives."

Does it work?

Orlando said the system seeks to prevent recidivism.

Asked what would be cause for getting kicked out of the shelter, Orlando said drug use, violent behavior or threat of violent behavior. Orlando added that breaking the 10 p.m. curfew can result in the individual being denied an extension to stay in the shelter.

"People can come in if they have been drinking," said Orlando. "We don't what them out in the street if they've been drinking. If they are too intoxicated then they may be transported to the hospital and then upon discharge we work with people."

"I think people are discouraged at times," said Orlando when told that some homeless say there are too many rules in the shelter and some don't want to work. "I think the longer that you've gone without a job, the longer you've been here in this system. It's discouraging for people."

According to Orlando, tough economic times have caused homelessness for some people who either lost their job or had their hours reduced.

"I don't want it to be perceived that, you know, all 90 people here are unemployed," said Orlando.

Orlando said that security at the shelter is a priority.

"We do do background checks with the person's permission," said Orlando. "When they come in they do sign clearance so that we can talk to other providers and also to do a background check."

Orlando said the Bergen County Police Department assigns a police officer to guard the front entrance at all times. Everybody who enters the building is checked with a handheld metal detector, and there are 48 surveillance cameras throughout the facility.

Orlando was asked what is her message to Hackensack residents. She declared that since the shelter opened, homelessness has been reduced by 35 percent.

"I think it's important for people to understand that someone may look stereotypically homeless. It doesn't mean that they're homeless," said Orlando.

"There are a lot of things that plague Hackensack right now," said Orlando. "I think it's unfair to vilify a homeless individual. I think for most of them they're just trying to get by."

Orlando asked residents to "allow us to do our job. We have a very good handle on who our people are."

Orlando stressed that she believes some homeless people tell police they're staying in the shelter when they are not, while others do not report they're homeless.

"That's part of the difficulty here, is really knowing, really, who is who," said Orlando.

Orlando said the shelter works well with police and the Main Street Business Alliance, which represents about 350 businesses along Main Street.

Regarding her relationship with police, Orlando said: "I believe that we're both very interested in not criminalizing the mentally ill and making sure that they're really obtaining services that they need."

"If the police come and speak with me, if they're looking for an individual, we cooperate& We certainly do not harbor criminals here," said Orlando.

Orlando invited Jerry Lombardo, the Alliance chairman, to watch the interview.

After the interview with Orlando, Lombardo said the shelter has reduced the number of homeless in the business district.

Lombardo said if a business owner has a problem, the shelter "will send somebody up or we can get direct interaction to get the problem solved, whatever it may be, by professionals who know how to deal with the problem."

Orlando was asked for the cost of all services provided by the shelter. She declined to provide the information and referred the question to the county administration.

Jeanne Baratta, chief of staff for Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan was reached by phone on July 26 and asked for the shelter's budget.

Baratta said the information would be provided. It was not.

There was no reply to a subsequent message to Baratta, again requesting budget information.

Email: hackensack@northjersey.com

- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/218986001_Hackensack_s_quality_of_life_campaign_targets_city_s_homeless.html?page=all#sthash.4T5OHblq.dpuf
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on August 09, 2013, 09:29:38 PM
I can't believe what I just read in the Bergen Rag. Or actually the offspring of the Bergen Rag, that ragette Chronicle.  Homeless advocates pushed for YEARS to consolidate all the homeless shelters into one much larger shelter, with more facilities and services.  And the County spent millions to build it on East Broadway and River Street.  And now that it exists, these reporters/homeless advocates are referring to it as "the lone homeless shelter in Bergen County", as if there should be more.  Unbelievable, just unbelievable, except that it's in the Bergen Rag, so I do believe it.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on August 10, 2013, 12:27:32 AM
Hackensack Homeless- Quality of Life Initiative, Part 1 of 4

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

YouTube Description: 
Posted by Caesar Darias
Published on Aug 7, 2013 

**All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.**

The Hackensack Police Department has started a quality of life initiative. A major component, according to police, is panhandling and crime committed by the homeless.

Police say most of the homeless people they encounter on the streets of Hackensack have an extensive criminal record. They say they have received numerous complaints from residents.

The only homeless shelter is Bergen County is in Hackensack.

In parts one and two we hear from Michael Mordaga, Hackensack Police Director, Michael Saudino, Bergen County Sheriff, Hackensack Councilman Leonardo Battaglia, Michael Oliver, a homeless man living in a tent under a Rt. 4 overpass and John Hall, a fisherman from Paterson who often interacts with the homeless.

Here's a link to my article for NorthJersey.com and the Hackensack Chronicle:


The article and the four videos are meant to compliment and supplement each other. They are not independent.

Video shot using the JVC GY-HM100U at 720x1280p, 60p, 35 Mb/s in .MOV. You can see that there was a lot of hand-held run-and-gun shooting without a tripod, yet there is no rolling shutter/jello effect. That's because of the CCD sensor. That's why I bought a CCD camera for ENG. I wish JVC or another company would put a 1/3 inch sensor on this type of camera.

I edited with FCP 7.

Unfortunately, some shots are a little shaky. Sorry about that. I'm going to have to buy a stabilizer.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Homer Jones on August 10, 2013, 07:27:26 AM
The homeless shelter should have been built on the grounds of the Bergen Pines where all of the medical and psychological services would have been readily available. Unfortunately Paramus had more political muscle than Hackensack and that's why the shelter is where it is.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on August 10, 2013, 02:08:36 PM
That's right, Homer.  AND just as many bus lines converge on Bergen Pines / Bergen Regional Medical Center as do in downtown Hackensack.  As if we somehow NEED buses to bring them in from everywhere. 

I still remember way back around 1986 +/- when the first shelter opened in Hackensack, and it had 12 beds. At the time, there was typically 2 or 3 homeless people in Hackensack, sometimes on the railroad behind The Record, and sometimes in Foschini or Johnson Park. It wasn't such a problem, really.  That very first shelter was the laughing stock of Hackensack.  Everyone thought they would never fill all 12 beds at once, and that it was a hysterical overspending of county money to build that thing, and people even joked "what are they going to do, bus them in from other cities".  If we only knew what kind of monster we were creating.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Homer Jones on August 10, 2013, 11:09:37 PM
The homeless have been in Hackensack for many years and beyond the 2 or 3 you mention. I can tell you stories about the homeless fifty years ago. I believe that the difference between then and now is that in the older days they would congregate along the River behind Johnson and Foschini Parks and live in relative peace until there was a problem and they were then rousted.
In more recent years however these people have been encouraged to come to Hackensack and avail themselves of so called social services which would encourage them to assimilate into society. Unfortunately many of these people are more aggressive and are having a deleterious influence on Hudson Street, Main Street and now the businesses along River Street.
I don't believe that it is a coincidence that many, if not most of the problems caused by the homeless are located within one quarter mile of the homeless shelter. Enough said.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on August 15, 2013, 03:06:26 PM
Residents at county homeless shelter will get IDs to show police
Thursday, August 15, 2013
The Record

The identification cards will include the person's name and the shelter logo and address.

HACKENSACK — The county's homeless shelter will start issuing identification cards to its residents on Friday after a police quality-of-life initiative that has resulted in frequent stops of homeless people in the city.

The cards will help police know who is staying at the shelter — as opposed to people who falsely claim to be staying there — and those who might need help, officials said.

"If they are staying with us and there are problems police are encountering, they can notify me and I can address it," said Julia Orlando, director of the Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services Center on River Street in Hackensack.

The identification cards will include the person's name and the shelter logo and address. They won't have photos, but they will be dated and issued weekly to the residents at the 90-bed shelter, Orlando said.

Police have been stopping and questioning people in the city who appear homeless, asking for identification and running warrants, as part of a quality-of-life initiative.

The effort was begun in response to complaints from residents and business owners about problems that include shoplifting, public urination and aggressive panhandling, said Police Director Michael Mordaga.

Some homeless people said they felt harassed because of frequent police stops, and complaints emerged over the July arrest of three people on charges of obstructing a sidewalk that landed two of them in jail.

Now, the shelter will be notified of problems when police stop someone with a shelter ID card. "If it's something non-criminal, we'd like to have them respond and deal with the situation," Mordaga said.

Orlando said the staff has a relationship with those staying in the shelter and can intervene or steer someone to services to deal with problems. The cards also will help shelter residents feel less afraid if they can produce identification, she said.

During previous stops, some people have claimed to be shelter residents when they weren't or only used facilities there, Mordaga and Orlando said. Police will continue to direct those people to the shelter, Mordaga said. The county shelter offers housing placement, meals, health screenings and other services, in addition to overnight beds, in what county officials call a "one-stop center."

The identification of shelter residents will "create a bridge" and get people the help they need on the path to permanent housing, Orlando said.

Mordaga said the effort will boost the quality-of-life initiative.

"It's a step in the right direction — us working together and coordinating efforts," he said.

Email: adely@northjersey.com

- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/219723461_Residents_at_county_homeless_shelter_will_get_IDs_to_show_police_to_help_police_and_homeless.html?page=all#sthash.0wrBcvfo.dpuf
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on August 22, 2013, 10:21:08 PM
Hackensack Police Crackdown Sparks Backlash From Community And Press  (http://www.bergendispatch.com/articles/27983161/Hackensack-Police-Crackdown-Sparks-Backlash-From-Community-And-Press-.aspx)
The Bergen Dispatch
By staff
Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 

Recently the Bergen Record ran a story about a crackdown by Hackensack Police on the homeless. The article by Record staff writer Hannan Adely fell short of describing the many problems both the police and the homeless are facing in Hackensack but it started a conversation long overdue.

“We are not targeting the homeless” said Hackensack Police Director Michael Mordaga in response to Adely‘s article and another by the Hackensack Chronicle also owned by North Jersey Media. “Unfair and unjustified” is how Mordaga described the reports, “we have no reason to target the homeless”.

The “crackdown” described is a 2-month-old initiative to deal with what Hackensack officials call “quality-of-life crimes.”

Thom Ammirato, public relations consultant for the City of Hackensack described the crackdown on “quality-of-life crimes” as being modeled after Rudy Giuliani’s 1990’s zero tolerance quality of life campaign in New York City. Giuliani’s war on the squeegee guys, panhandlers and the homeless was aimed at reclaiming public space.

 This initiative comes at a time when the city is investing in a major downtown rehabilitation. Newly appointed Mayor John Labrosse told the Bergen Dispatch "It's something we have to do." speaking of revitalizing the downtown area.

 The Mayor was quick to criticize the Record for the stories, "The Record didn't run stories like this while they were trying to sell their property in Hackensack, they waited until that deal was done."

 The Record’s former headquarters, a 19.7-acre property on River Street in Hackensack, is being sold to a developer who said he wants to build a high-end residential and retail community with more than 500 apartments and a hotel.
 The Bergen Record moved from Hackensack to West Paterson in 2008 and the building on River Street has sat empty since. North Jersey Media who owns the Record recently signed a deal to lease 500 parking spaces at the River Street building site to the County of Bergen for $770,000 during the construction of the new court house.

Labrosse and the entire Citizens for Change slate won all five seats in the city council elections on May 14 campaigning on a plan for open government, community redevelopment and public safety.

The Best Western

 Caught in the middle of the “crackdown” is the Bergen County Housing, Health & Human Services Center, also known as the Bergen County homeless shelter. Located on South River Street adjacent to the Bergen County Jail the center has a 90-bed temporary shelter capacity, 62 of which are in bedrooms that accommodate from two to eight individuals, and 28 are dormitory style

 The center receives referrals for temporary shelter from community agencies, religious institutions, and law enforcement agencies. Those referred to the center may have a history of substance abuse, physical and mental health problems, and unemployment, in addition to homelessness.

 The facility is part of a public-private effort to combat homelessness and partners include Bergen County Department of Health Services, Care Plus NJ, Christ Church Community Development Corporation, Inter-religious Fellowship for the Homeless of Bergen County and North Jersey Friendship House. Bergen Community College provides educational services and Family Promise of Bergen County provides a walk-in dinner program 365 days a year.

 The walk-in dinner program schedules a congregation or organization every day of the year to provide, prepare and serve dinner to approximately 150 people at the shelter. Although many of the guests have a place to live, their limited incomes don’t stretch to cover dinner every night. Some are “street people” who may decide after a few good meals in a friendly atmosphere to trust the “system” enough to look into additional services provided at the same location.

 Kate Duggan, Executive Director of Family Promise of Bergen County told the Bergen Dispatch, “The causes of homelessness are varied and complex. Our goal should be to provide an environment where the homeless can access services that will help them find stable housing and get the additional assistance they need. “

The “shelter” is a modern, safe and clean facility that defies anyone’s expectations of what a homeless shelter would be. The quality of the facility is often the subject of ridicule being compared to a hotel or the “Best Western” as Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse called it.

 The “Best Western” is a term used by many public officials and law enforcement to describe the shelter. Too often the impression left by officials is that the County facility is too good for the type of people it is intended to help.

“Dumping” The Homeless

 The “shelter” is a best effort by a community to deal with the problem of homelessness in Bergen County but its location does impose a burden on the City of Hackensack. Expected to serve the entire County the shelter attracts the homeless from seventy municipalities to one location.

 Police Departments from across Bergen County bring homeless people to Hackensack and far too often leave them on the city streets to seek assistance at the shelter. Mayor John Labrosse was quick to point this out describing other towns as “dumping” the homeless on Hackensack’s doorstep.

 The shelter, by design, is expected to receive “referrals” and individuals seeking services often are told there is two to three week wait. 

 A regular occurrence at the shelter is seeing people dropped off by municipal law enforcement on the street just outside the shelter. The shelter maintains public hours daily from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4 p.m. and people left at the shelter’s entrance in the middle of the night are told to leave the property, left to fend for themselves homeless in Hackensack for up to three weeks.

 When municipal law enforcement takes the time to pull in to the shelter parking lot the person they are dropping off is received as a “referral” and in most cases off the street immediately.

 When asked about the difference between “dumping” the homeless outside the shelter versus taking them inside, Chief Donald V. Keane, president of the Bergen County Police Chief’s Association told the Bergen Dispatch. “I cannot speak for the sixty plus agencies in Bergen County but as Chief of the Cliffside Park Police I was not aware of this.”

For the homeless seeking services the weeks that they need to spend on the streets of Hackensack hoping for a bed at the shelter can be a make or break situation. For Hackensack the increase in people on the street is an unnecessary and expensive burden that will not be solved by a crackdown.

 Homelessness, even in a good economy, is a persistent problem that can be addressed and should always invoke the words there but for the grace of God go I.

 For the system to best serve the municipalities as well as the homeless a person in need should be able to seek the assistance of the local Police who can, with a little effort, get them off the street and on to a path to additional assistance.

 Chief Keane was eager to help, “we’re onboard, tell us what we can do better and we will” he said.
 Jeanne Baratta, Chief of Staff for the County Executive, who oversees the shelter, was also not aware of the dumping. “This sounds like something we can fix with a fax” Baratta told the Bergen Dispatch.
A Perfect Storm

 The new administration in Hackensack is eager to live up to campaign promises but a rift between the City and County is apparent.

County Executive’s Chief of Staff, Jeanne Baratta, told the Bergen Dispatch that she has reached out to the new Mayor and Council with an invitation to visit the shelter. Thom Ammirato, the city’s public relations consultant, dismissed the idea telling the Bergen Dispatch the city is looking for a “more comprehensive solution” to what he described as the financial burdens put on Hackensack by the County.

 Both Jeanne Baratta and Hackensack Police Director Michael Mordaga told the Bergen Dispatch that the police and shelter have always had a good relationship but both were quick to point out that recently this has changed.

 If Hackensack officials are serious about continuing a Giuliani, New York City, quality of life campaign it will be done in an age of Twitter, YouTube and Real-Time News.

 Giuliani’s campaign did target the homeless who were sleeping in the subway and on the streets by taking them in bus loads to shelters. Hackensack officials cannot expect to scare off the homeless and for Bergen County’s homeless there is no place else to go but Hackensack.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on September 08, 2013, 11:53:11 AM
A garden grows in Hackensack:
Homeless shelter starts raising crops, teaching gardening to residents
S.P. Sullivan/NJ.com By  S.P. Sullivan/NJ.com   
September 07, 2013 at 8:00 AM, updated September 07, 2013 at 8:12 AM

HACKENSACK — It's a modest garden tucked behind a county-run homeless shelter, but officials are hoping to yield crops — and job skills for the county's homeless.

Bergen County officials cut the ribbon this week on an organic garden on the grounds of the Housing, Health & Human Services Center, a new project built with grant money and maintained by the shelter's residents.

"It's the whole concept of 'If you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime,'" Bergen Freeholder Tracy Zur, one of the major proponents of the project, told NJ.com at the opening ceremony. "This can be a job skill."

Zur said the idea was sparked when a Bergen County Sheriff's Officer posted on her Facebook page that the lawn behind the shelter was laying dormant. Wouldn't it be better used as a garden?

"The therapeutic element of gardening, the whole metaphor of being able to plant something, nurture it and see it grow and bear fruit was something, I thought, would be powerful for the residents," she said.

What followed was a collaboration between a host of county departments, non-profits and private entities.

A $2,000 grant from Wal-Mart went toward construction materials, and City Green, a non-profit that builds urban gardens and teaches folks how to maintain them, built the garden beds. They used soil from Mahwah, where Mayor William Laforet offered up dirt from the borough's composting program. Master gardeners from Rutgers University worked alongside residents of the homeless shelter to plant the seeds.

At the ceremony, spinach and other vegetables were poking up from the soil, having been planted just a few weeks ago. The food will eventually work its way into the shelter's cafeteria, to be eaten by the residents who tend to it.

"The beauty of it is there's a lot of space back here," Zur said. "In an ideal world, there'd be enough to sell to a farmer's market and have this be a self-sustaining project."

Eight residents from the shelter volunteer their time to maintain the small garden, operating on a rotating schedule.

"They come out about 6 in the morning and they water," Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services Director Julia Orlando said. "They're really dedicated."

"If they can make a commitment to this, they can make a commitment to other things in life," Zur added. "And that's the point."
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on September 08, 2013, 03:27:32 PM
This project gets a big THUMBS UP from me.  And I'm well known to be against expanding homeless programs in Hackensack.

This lets them learn something. They can actually contribute, and develop self-esteem. And it keeps them off the streets and riverwalks.  And i's a very "green" project, very organic, very environmental.  What has to happen for them to be able to tend the entire lawn area, not just the raised planter units.  And what the heck, if there are other vacant lots nearby, let them farm those as well.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: regina on September 09, 2013, 05:07:33 PM
I think it's great. Now if they can just get the state of the art kitchen going so they could teach some skills to cook what is harvested
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on September 14, 2013, 08:49:50 AM
I see the authorities are closing more institutions for people who would otherwise be homeless.  I am very happy that the Mayor & Council is voicing concern, because it's obvious that most of them will wind up living on the streets of North Jersey cities, including Hackensack.  Homeless activists actually want this to happen, they are against the institutions and for "community-based" facilities where the homeless live in and amonst everyone else.  This all started with Pres. Ronald Reagan and the "thousand points of light".

And now that Hackensack hosts the Taj Mahal of homeless shelters for the entire United States, the word is getting out that Hackensack is THE place to be homeless.

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on October 19, 2013, 09:55:09 AM
Ex-homeless man's selfless act pays off (http://www.northjersey.com/hackensack/Ex-homeless_mans_selfless_act_pays_off.html?page=all)
Friday October 18, 2013, 11:44 PM
The Record

James Brady was on his daily walk in Hackensack’s downtown one day last spring when he found a white bank envelope on a Main Street sidewalk with $850 inside. No one was around, so he had a decision to make.


James Brady was homeless and unemployed when he found $850 in cash on a Hackensack sidewalk and turned it in to police. No one claimed the lost property over the next six months. Homeless when he found $850 on a Hackensack street, James Brady retrieved the money when no one claimed it during the six-month period after it was turned in to Hackensack police.

Homeless when he found $850 on a Hackensack street, James Brady retrieved the money when no one claimed it during the six-month period after it was turned in to Hackensack police. Keep it or tell someone?

He told police — a remarkable act for a man who was homeless and unemployed and desperately needed the money.

“Even though I was homeless, I thought there are people out there who could be worse off,” said Brady, 59, who has lived most of his life in Englewood and Leonia. “I had my mother’s voice in my head: ‘It’s not yours.’ ”

So on that day, April 16, Brady turned in the money at the Hackensack police station. On Friday, he went back to headquarters to collect the $850 that no one had claimed during the six-month holding period for lost property held by police.

Officer Brian Feuilly handed him the cash and joked: “So where are we going for lunch?”

Brady’s plans for the cash are simple. First, he wanted a sandwich — he likes an Italian combo or turkey. He also wanted to buy a bath mat for the apartment he got in Hackensack in July through a county Housing Authority voucher program, so that he doesn’t slip in the tub.

He’ll use part of the money, he said, for new sneakers. He wears a special shoe for overpronation — a condition caused by improper arch support that causes feet to roll inward — in a size 9½, 4E in width.

Sneakers are more than just a foot accessory for the lean, 6-foot-tall Brady. He walks three miles a day and walking, for him, is a way to get out into the world and stay connected. Even when things were bad and he closed himself off from friends and family, Brady still walked.

Brady was a news photographer before switching careers, he said, to become a market data analyst. He left his job after a merger and was looking for a new one in 2001, when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks happened. He was supposed to go to a finance and technology exposition that day at the World Trade Center, but canceled.

He was crippled by the knowledge, he said, that he could have been killed. He grew depressed and withdrew from people, becoming “like a hermit.”

Over 10 years, he used up his bank savings and retirement fund until he was evicted from his Leonia apartment. He slept on the streets, and then visited the Bergen County homeless shelter on River Street in Hackensack. With urging from a staffer there, he checked into a psychiatric hospital where he spent six days.

With help from doctors and medication, his health improved. He remained at the county shelter until he got a $600 housing voucher, but he wasn’t able to find a place for that amount of money. He stayed with friends and on the streets again, returning to the shelter in February.

He got his new place in July, with a different voucher that covers $1,095 in rent. It’s a first-floor apartment with one bedroom and a balcony on Polifly Road.

“It’s great,” he said. “I have people visiting. I get out of the apartment and go downtown. I’m trying not to do the hermit thing again.”

Brady has also been outspoken on behalf of the homeless community in Hackensack. He contacted The Record last summer to say he believed homeless men and women were being unfairly treated in a police quality-of-life initiative.

“Most people are decent people who fell on hard times,” he told the paper. “All they’re really looking for is a second chance.”

He was tapped to attend a recent community meeting with police, in case homelessness came up in discussion. It often does, because of long-standing tension in the city over the large homeless presence.

Julia Orlando, director of the county’s Housing, Health and Human Services Center in Hackensack, said she wasn’t surprised by Brady’s actions because he is “thoughtful and considerate of other people.”

His actions showed positivity in the homeless community at a tense time, she said, when the police initiative had just begun.

“He told me about it,” Orlando said. “He wanted people to know that homeless people are also good, decent and honest.”

Brady didn’t seek recognition for turning in the $850, but the City Council heard about it and will honor him at a meeting Tuesday.

Hackensack Police Director Michael Mordaga said Brady showed that people in any circumstance can do good deeds.

“He’s an honest guy and he wanted to do the right thing,” Mordaga said. “I applaud any citizen that does that. It’s a great gesture for anyone.”

Brady credits his mother’s guidance and his Catholic upbringing for keeping him in line. He said the money was tempting, but he knew he couldn’t keep it.

“You just have to do what you think is right,” he said.

Email: adely@northjersey.com
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on October 23, 2013, 09:40:09 AM
Hackensack honors man who turned in big sum of found cash (http://www.northjersey.com/news/228884721_Hackensack_honors_man_who_turned_in_big_sum_of_found_cash.html)
Wednesday, October 23, 2013    Last updated: Wednesday October 23, 2013, 6:57 AM
The Record

HACKENSACK – A onetime homeless man whose act of honesty earned national accolades was honored by the City Council on Tuesday night. [See YouTube video (http://youtu.be/nrblHl_OFTo?t=1m30s)].

James Brady, a resident of Hackensack since July, being recognized by the mayor and City Council on Tuesday. James Brady, 59, found a bank envelope with $850 cash on Main Street six months ago and turned it over to police. The Hackensack man was homeless and unemployed at the time.

The City Council gave him a commendation for "the integrity he exhibited in an extremely tempting situation."

"The fact that this man found — and returned — the money, where a lot of people would have just stuck it in their pockets, is truly remarkable and speaks volumes," said Mayor John Labrosse.

Brady found the money April 16 during his daily walk downtown. Police returned it to him Friday after no one claimed the money during a six-month holding period for lost property.

Brady said he had turned in the money because it was the right thing to do and because there were other people who might really be in need of the money, too.

In July, Brady found housing in the city with the aid of a county rent-assistance program.

He remains vocal about the concerns of the homeless community. When he was approached by a council member at the meeting, he told her he hoped homeless individuals would be treated fairly in the city.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on November 09, 2013, 11:08:07 AM
Formerly homeless Hackensack man loses benefits after turning in cash he found on street (http://www.nj.com/bergen/index.ssf/2013/11/formerly_homeless_hackensack_man_loses_housing_medical_benefits_after_turning_in_cash_he_found_on_st.html)
Dan Ivers/NJ.com By  Dan Ivers/NJ.com   
on November 09, 2013 at 9:19 AM, updated November 09, 2013 at 9:24 AM

HACKENSACK — A formerly homeless man's good deed may get him punished after all.

According to The Record [article here (http://www.northjersey.com/hackensack/Hackensacks_homeless_Samaritan_loses_benefits_over_850_he_found_and_turned_in.html?page=all)], James Brady is now being denied the housing and medical benefits he receives from Hackensack's Human Services Department because he was awarded $850 last month.

The 59-year-old had originally turned the cash in to police after finding it laying on a Main Street sidewalk in April, even though he was spending his nights at a local shelter. When no one stepped up to claim it over the next six months, it was declared his to keep.

[The paper was told] they are simply following rules requiring all lump sum payments to be reported as income.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: regina on November 09, 2013, 09:43:56 PM
Outpouring of sympathy for Hackensack good Samaritan whose noble deed proved costly

His simple, honest deed received international attention. And just as far-reaching have been offers to help the formerly homeless Hackensack man, James Brady, who is now paying a price for turning in $850 cash he found on the street.
Related story: Hackensack's homeless Samaritan loses benefits over $850 he found and turned in

How you can help
Bergen County’s United Way has set up a fund to benefit James Brady. Donations can be made in a number of ways:

Through the charity’s secure website at www.bergenunitedway.org/compassionfund/helpjamesbrady
By check, made out to “BCUW/Compassion Fund/Mr. Brady," and mailed to United Way, 6 Forest Ave., Paramus, NJ 07652.
Readers from throughout the country asked how they could help Brady on Saturday, and a local non-profit group set up a fund to collect donations, after a story in The Record that detailed how Brady lost government benefits because of his good deed.

Last month, city police gave Brady the money he had turned in to them six months earlier because it had remained unclaimed. City officials celebrated his honest act, and he became a minor celebrity.

But a city employee responsible for administering aid for the needy saw the widely circulated story and canceled his benefits through the end of this year because he had failed to disclose the $850 on paperwork, The Record reported Saturday.

Arun Arora, 42, of Chicago, who read about Brady on the Internet, saw someone being punished for his good intentions.

“It was a very touching story,” said Arora, who wanted to help Brady. “He’s a human being. And given his background, I’m happy to write a check to help him.”

Others, like Bob Wiseman of Wayne, also contacted the paper in an effort to help. Wiseman said he was ready to cut a $500 check.

“It was just moving,” Wiseman said. “The poor guy is one of many people who have lost their job, but he still had his moral compass.”

A former photographer and market data analyst, Brady lost his job a decade ago and has suffered from depression since. Earlier this year, he seemed to be getting back on track. He was seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist and taking medication —  but he learned last week that he might no longer be able to afford his care. Hackensack sent him a notice on Thursday that it was denying him Medicaid and General Assistance benefits through the end of the year because of what they said was undisclosed “income.”

On Saturday, Bergen County’s United Way set up an account specifically for Brady through its Compassion Fund.

“This outpouring stems from: Here’s a fellow who behaved admirably, who clearly could have used the money himself, but he showed a tremendous amount of pride and honesty,” said Tom Toronto, president of the county United Way chapter. “Then to discover that, through an irrational, bureaucratic rule, he is punished for that. I think it’s unconscionable.”

The money the non-profit collects on Brady’s behalf will go entirely to helping him, Toronto said. Mindful that help in the form of cash could have more unintended consequences for Brady, who relies on government aid, Toronto said his group plans to work with Brady and county housing officials to identify Brady’s needs — medication, food, clothing, therapy —  and will provide those goods and services for him. If the donations exceed Brady’s short-term needs, they could be used for long-term help like tuition for job training, Toronto said.

“James was on an upward path,” Toronto said. “Our goal is to put him back on that path and keep him on that path.”

Brady, who could not be reached for comment Saturday, has said he was not trying to hide anything. He did not know he had to report the money police ultimately gave him. His canceled benefits included Medicaid and $210 in monthly assistance, Brady’s only source of income for non-food items.

The Hackensack Human Services Department official who decided to temporarily halt Brady’s Medicaid and General Assistance benefits, Agatha Toomey, previously said she was just following rules which require any lump-sum payment to be reported as income.

Hackensack’s mayor, John LaBrosse, previously called Brady’s situation “a shame” and said it highlighted “major flaws” in the system that helps provides the needy with assistance. He did not return a call seeking comment on Saturday.

Email: boburg@northjersey.com

- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/community/hackensack_brady_homeless.html?page=all#sthash.SmkdCDkW.dpuf
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on November 10, 2013, 06:05:29 PM
Brady is a good man who was praised from coast-to-coast.  He was even mentioned on Facebook by Mike Huckabee.  How could Agatha Toomey of Hackensack justify withholding benefits for this man?  That's ridiculous.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Homer Jones on November 10, 2013, 08:22:53 PM
May I ask what  Mike Hukabee  says on Facebook has anything to do with this particular case?  Mike Huckabee wouldn't know the difference between  Hackensack, Minnesota and Hackensack, New Jersey. This poor guy Brady is the victim of the system and not  Mrs. Toomey.
Let's put it this way: if Mrs. Toomey  had extended benefits to Mr. Brady and a subsequent audit triggered by this publicity had shown that Mrs. Toomey had  released money without  proper authorization and justification, do you think that Mr. Huckabee would have reached out to support her? Do you think that the Mayor and council would have supported her?
Unfortunately in this case, an honest citizen and an honest civil servant are getting  screwed by just trying to do the right thing.
I am more than willing to put my money where my mouth is and make a donation to this individual. I wonder if Mr. Huckabee and the politicians are willing to do the same and also support their employees.
My check is in the mail.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on November 11, 2013, 10:33:07 PM
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: just watching on November 12, 2013, 07:52:29 AM
All the national clamor over this case is having an impact.  Mike Huckabee was one small part of it, and I only mentioned that because I happened to see it myself on FB.  This guys talks about national stuff such as the catastrophe of Obamacare every single day, and all of a sudden he's talking about Hackensack and James Brady.  WOW !! What a shock that was.  This political figure is one of my Facebook friends.  His insights, and his calm demeanor, are very impressive to me, and he stands in stark contrast to most of the other "politicians" out there from his own party. Too bad that some people don't like that I mentioned him. Maybe I should do it more often.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on November 12, 2013, 09:03:15 PM


Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on November 13, 2013, 09:22:11 AM

The video below is from the 11/12/13 City Council meeting. 

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: itsmetoo on November 13, 2013, 09:48:25 AM
I hope that other issues are posted as quickly as this one.
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on November 15, 2013, 01:59:46 PM
Record Talk Radio with John Ensslin hosts reporter who broke Hackensack Good Samaritan story
Thursday November 14, 2013, 5:28 PM
The Record
Adely, who covers the Hackensack beat for the paper, will talk about the on-going saga of James Brady, the former homeless man who discovered $850 on the street and turned it into the police. Police returned the money to Brady along with praise for his honesty. However, the money also led to a decision by Hackensack officials to cut his public assistance funds.

New News Podcasts with recordtalkradio on BlogTalkRadio

- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/Record_Talk_Radio_with_Hannan_Adely.html#sthash.N8TQ8tXs.dpuf
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on November 21, 2013, 10:42:03 PM
Homelessness down nationwide, Bergen and Passaic counties
Thursday, November 21, 2013    Last updated: Thursday November 21, 2013, 7:37 PM
The Record
There were fewer people counted as homeless in Bergen and Passaic counties in 2013, a trend seen across the country, according to a federal study released on Thursday.

When the annual point in time count was conducted one night in January, there were 610,042 people recorded across the country as homeless — a nearly four percent decline from the previous year’s census, according to the 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report. Of the homeless counted nationwide, 23 percent were children under the age of 18, and 67 percent were 25 years or older.

In New Jersey, the number grew slightly from 11,721 in 2012 to 11,818 in 2013, but declined in Bergen and Passaic counties. Volunteers counted 346 homeless in Bergen County, including 187 children, a decrease from the 461, including 105 children in 2012.

- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/Homelessness_down_nationwide_bergen_and_passaic_counties.html?page=all#sthash.ZTbxqHLL.dpuf
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on November 30, 2013, 01:01:39 PM
More than $9,000 collected for former Hackensack homeless man
Saturday, November 30, 2013
The Record

HACKENSACK — More than $9,000 has been raised for James Brady, three weeks after a fund was established for the onetime homeless man who lost benefits after turning in $850 he found in the street.

Donations were still being received this week, said Tom Toronto, president of Bergen County's United Way, which started the fund on Nov. 9. None of the money has been spent yet, though, as the United Way works with county officials to determine what Brady needs and how to help him without further loss of benefits.

- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/233901421_More_than__9_000_collected_for_former_Hackensack_homeless_man.html?page=all#sthash.ILZKGYRW.dpuf
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on February 16, 2014, 12:18:12 AM
Hackensack homeless man who turned in found cash has lost $800 in welfare
Saturday, February 15, 2014
The Record

HACKENSACK — Dollar for dollar, James Brady and the government are now about even.

Brady, the formerly homeless man who found $850 in cash on a Hackensack street last spring, turned it into police, and was rewarded with it six months later, has lost four months of welfare benefits — about $840 — because he neglected to report the windfall as income. The penalty, which sparked public outrage, was initially meant to last only two months.

Brady's bureaucratic ordeal isn't over yet: He's still waiting for his monthly cash benefit to be restored.

- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/245651821_Hackensack_homeless_man_who_turned_in_found_cash_has_lost__800_in_welfare_still_waits_to_receive_benefits.html?page=all#sthash.m7tcTqeD.dpuf
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on March 01, 2014, 02:11:49 PM
Hackensack Residents Frustrated With Nearby Shelter (http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/02/28/hackensack-residents-frustrated-with-nearby-shelter/)

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on June 09, 2014, 09:10:16 PM
Annual count finds uptick in Bergen County homeless
Myles Ma/NJ.com By Myles Ma/NJ.com
June 09, 2014 at 3:25 PM, updated June 09, 2014 at 3:55 PM
BERGEN COUNTY — A total of 369 people were homeless on Jan. 28 according to a count taken on one night each year.

That is 23 more, or 6.5 percent higher, than the Point-in-Time count conducted last year.

Organizations that help the homeless are required to participate in the Point-in-Time count each year to apply for funding from the federal department of Housing and Urban Development. Monarch Housing Associates, a non-profit based in Cranford, directed the count this year and released the findings Monday.


Report: http://cdn.monarchhousing.org/wpcontent/uploads/njcounts14/BergenCounty.pdf
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on July 25, 2014, 12:15:11 AM
Patrons of Hackensack center are treated to special event
JULY 24, 2014    LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, JULY 24, 2014, 1:21 AM
It was more like a holiday in July than a typical lunchtime at the Bergen County human services center, one patron said.

There was catered food on Wednesday, with music performed by classically trained musicians in an atmosphere of warmth and welcome specially created by a group linked to a global volunteerism campaign.

"We’ve never had a regular-season lunch that elaborate before," said Julia Orlando, director of the Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services Center. "It’ll make it very hard to serve lunch tomorrow."

The standard lunch provided by the center for the homeless who stay in its shelter and other guests who stop by was swapped out on Wednesday for mashed potatoes, Hawaiian chicken and salad, accompanied by handwritten cards that said "We love you," all provided by the International WeLoveU Foundation, a community service group that devotes its time to a variety of causes while trying to show "a mother’s love" through its volunteer work.

WeLoveU volunteers and center employees were joined by Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse, Deputy Mayor Kathleen Canestrino and Councilman David Sims.

- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/community-news/volunteers-add-touch-of-love-to-meal-at-homeless-shelter-1.1056642#sthash.IMMjr2MR.dpuf
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on August 04, 2014, 03:52:28 PM
Bergen homeless center honored at White House
August 4, 2014    Last updated: Monday, August 4, 2014, 1:21 AM
The Record

The Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services Center was among 60 shelters recently honored at the White House for successfully housing its chronically homeless population.

Julia Orlando, the center's director, traveled from Hackensack to Washington for the reception in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The reception was for communities involved in the 100,000 Homes Campaign, a national movement to find homes for 100,000 of the chronically and medically vulnerable homeless by July of this year — a goal it surpassed in June.

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on October 08, 2014, 02:28:19 PM
County homeless services center in Hackensack celebrates five years
October 8, 2014    Last updated: Wednesday, October 8, 2014, 1:21 AM
The Record

HACKENSACK — For Ed Muse, this was the place that gave him hope from the moment he walked through the door, when social workers greeted him with applause, then found him a bed for the night.

Suddenly homeless at age 50, Muse said the center's blend of warm welcome with a firm get-to-work attitude kept him from falling into despair.

There was more applause Monday as staff members, supporters and guests marked the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services Center.

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on October 22, 2014, 02:08:33 PM
Homeless woman struck by car, killed while crossing to Hackensack shelter
October 22, 2014, 9:37 AM    Last updated: Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 9:37 AM
Staff Writer
The Record

HACKENSACK — A 61-year-old woman was struck and killed crossing the street Tuesday night on her way to the homeless shelter, authorities said.

Lisa Borsellino was a resident of the homeless shelter, city police Capt. Thomas Salcedo said.

- See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/homeless-woman-struck-by-car-killed-while-crossing-to-hackensack-shelter-1.1114658#sthash.crm8f697.dpuf
Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
Post by: Editor on February 05, 2015, 10:20:38 AM
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Post by: Editor on November 20, 2015, 02:13:55 PM
Free Thanksgiving Community dinners around our area


Saturday November 21, 2015:

"The River" Homeless Mission 42 court street Hackensack NJ will be hosting On our own's annual Feast 12-3:30

Emanuel Christian Fellowship-Sunday, Nov. 22 10:30-Thanksgiving Dinner, food to take home and warms clothing and blankets

River Mission Sunday Nov. 22 Worship service (The meal will be Thanksgiving Special) 6 pm

On Thanksgiving November 26, 2015:

Christ Episcopal Church 251 State St Hackensack- 2-6

"The Center" Bergen County housing Health and Human Services Building on 120 south River st Hackensack starting at 1-4; will have their community dinner and more.

The Second Reformed Church of Hackensack-436 Union St, Hackensack-201) 343-7550 is hosting "Salvation Army's" Thanksgiving breakfast and brunch starting at 8:30 am and second seating at 9:30.. try to sign up but they say they they wont turn anyone away if they can not sign up ahead of time

Mount Olive Church Central Ave at the corner of Central and 2' nd street Hackensack will have Thanksgiving community feast starting at 12 pm- 2 pm

Eva's Paterson- 393 Main St Paterson will have theirs -Thanksgiving meal will be at noon

If you would like to help support the "River Mission" at church on the green to continue serving anyone in need you can click THIS link and we can do more for the community!
Please "LIKE" us on our main Facebook Main Organizational Page

Title: Re: Services for the homeless...
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