EMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE (SEA)
for the Homeless
As illustrated in the 2015 PIT Data Analysis
and The Triple H Report
, the cause of homelessness for many in Middlesex County is economic in nature. Therefore, part of the effort to end homelessness must address the need for more and better employment opportunities.
In astute recognition of this, the Board’s Sustainability Committee
has devoted much of its efforts towards doing so. Together with staff, the Committee has successfully established a partnership with NJ Employment Services and the Middlesex County Dept. of Workforce Development. Homeless adults are offered individualized assistance with: registering on the State’s job database; searching for employment opportunities that match their skills, and learning about additional services in a small classroom setting at the One Stop Career Center.
The goal of the initiative is first to encourage and support the homeless individuals to be able to comfortably utilize the host of services available to them at the One Stop Career Center, and secondly, to find employment that will lead to self-sufficiency and an end to their homelessness. To date, 18 individuals have participated in this initiative. The next session is scheduled for December 16, 2015.
In addition to the partnership with Employment Services and the County Workforce Development, the Sustainability Committee
is also pursuing larger local employers to begin an initiative to reduce barriers to employment and create on-the-job training opportunities for homeless adults. This component is being piloted with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, with the goal of expanding to additional employers, including the Heldrich Hotel.
Coming Home launched a photography club/contest this year, which culminated in the announcement of the winner at our first fundraising event in October. The idea was to offer an artistic outlet to those experiencing homelessness which would both allow them to express themselves artistically and enhance their sense of community belonging at this difficult time in their lives. Doing so, it was envisioned, would help build morale and confidence, attributes needed for healthy, happy living. We sought the participation of Catholic Charities for access to their shelter residents and the RU Mason Gross School of Arts for their expertise in the art of photography. (A big thanks to student, Liset Clark). We also solicited and received the donation of 12 cameras, 6 from Olympus and 6 from Fujifilm.
Participants attended 3 workshops run by the RU students, who instructed the participants in use of the cameras and digital editing and development. They were provided opportunities to take photos throughout their community; enhanced their photography skills, and entered their photos in a juried contest. The winner received a Point & Shoot Camera and a framed copy of the winning photo.
The photos have been displayed at the Rutgers Mason Gross School, at the New Brunswick City Hall and will be traveling to Edison City Hall.
So, if you have the time we would love for you to pass by and view the photos currently being displayed at New Brunswick City Hall, and show your support.
The cameras are held for safekeeping for use in the next iteration of the Club. By all accounts, this program was a huge success and will begin its new session in a few weeks, offering the opportunity to other homeless persons.
Photos are available for purchase through coming Home’s website and all proceeds will go to the photographer.
Marketing / Fundraising
As you all know, we created a Resource Development Plan beginning with your work at the Retreat in June of this year and formally presented at our September Board meeting. The plan sets goals, objectives and expectations of Board members to help raise funds to support the work of Coming Home and more copies are available at your request. Local government assistance has been available for much of our operating support and for creation of housing for those who are homeless. State and federal money has also been available for housing construction and intermittently for the payment of rent through vouchers for those homeless persons who have disabilities. We need to supplement this funding to be able to provide: (i) rental assistance to the Hardship Homeless for whom we create housing and (ii) community-based case management to assist the newly housed reach their particular level of self-sufficiency. The prevailing, evidence-based method of ending homelessness, Housing First, does not work without all three components of Accessibility (creation of housing); Affordability (rental assistance) and Sustainability (case management +). The Executive Committee, along with staff, has developed a Pipeline Tracker to be able to measure our progress in achieving the goals of the development plan. It will be presented at the December Board meeting.
Our first event fundraiser – the Social Evening and Silent Auction – held in Perth Amboy on October 2nd was a success by all accounts. Guests reported thoroughly enjoying themselves, which bodes well for attendance at future events and we netted $15,000. The Fundraising Committee decided to repeat the event next year in October 2016 and is exploring the prospect of a holding a golf outing in the spring. We will discuss other fundraising ideas at the Board meeting.
As to grants, Coming Home staff has secured a one-time grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the express purpose of hiring of staff to begin the implementation of the County-wide Coordinated Assessment Initiative and to, in about 6 months’ time, pilot the community-based case management program.
POINT IN TIME (PIT)
The PIT, conducted annually, will be conducted this year on and around January 27, 2016.
Coming Home will again serve as the PIT Coordinator for data and survey administration for Middlesex County. CHM will conduct trainings and outreach throughout the month of January on the administration of the PIT survey, as well as analyze the data following the PIT, and help to organize volunteers for the host sites in New Brunswick and Perth Amboy. Coming Home produced its own analysis of the 2015 PIT data this past summer. Doing so, permits Coming Home to identify discrete reasons for people’s homelessness and particular needs to end it. It has proven to be invaluable in our planning and discussions around homelessness throughout the year. For example, from the 2015 PIT data, we identified a total of 1,065
individuals (660 Households) homeless on the night of PIT. Of this total, 989 individuals
(or 92.9%), including 356 children, were sheltered
in Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, Hotel Placement or housing with a Temporary Rental Assistance subsidy from Welfare. Seventy-six individuals, including 2 children, were unsheltered. The data also: (i) indicates CH households made up only 11% of 660 household respondents and (ii) attests to the presence of the Hardship Homeless.
According to the survey, 22% of homeless households had an earned income. The top cause of homelessness reported by all survey respondents was “Loss of Job/Reduction of Income” (26.2%). This information has informed our efforts to create affordable, permanent housing. (See Homes for Homeless section referencing the Triple H Report.
) CHM’s analysis of PIT data gives us a real time indication of the housing needs in the County: we can discern with a reasonable degree of certainty precisely what type of housing (with or without support) and size (no.of BR) is needed in the County.
The 2015 PIT analysis also demonstrates a 28% reduction in the unsheltered population from 2014, and 24.7% overall reduction in homelessness from last year
. Additionally, the past five years has seen a steady decline in homelessness in the County, with an overall 35% reduction since 2011. The full report and summary infographics can be found on the Coming Home website.
2016 CHM BOARD MEETING CALENDAR
Tue, March 22, 2016 ( Annual Meeting)
Tue, June 28, 2016
Tue, 27 September 2016
Tue, 13 December 2016