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Commissioner Jennifer Velez with volunteers participating in Passaic County Project Homeless Connect

For Immediate Release:
January 26, 2010

For Information, Contact:
Suzanne Esterman, 609-292-3703

PATERSON, N.J. — Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez will help kick-off the Passaic County Project Homeless Connect at the Bishop Rodimer Center Wednesday as part of the national Point-in-Time Count of the homeless.The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development requires a biannual point in time homeless count in order for Continuums of Care, located by county, to be eligible for Federal funding.  While this is an off-year for the Federal requirement, counts are performed annually in New Jersey in order to gather the most current data on those experiencing homelessness.

“It’s critical to understand the scope and magnitude of this very pressing social problem. It is increasingly important – especially during the current economic crisis – to connect individuals and families with state, local and faith-based resources available,” said Commissioner Velez.

“We know that many individuals who are homeless or near-homeless face other challenges as well: mental illness, physical disabilities or addictions and we’re hopeful this will help raise awareness for accessible services and encourage individuals to seek assistance.”

The Commissioner will commend the dedication and mission of the volunteers who canvas the county to survey homeless people in order to get a clear picture of homelessness in New Jersey.

“The sad reality is that too many people in our state do not have permanent housing, and counting each year will help identify what barriers exist,” said Commissioner Velez.

She also will address many volunteers from the agencies participating in Project Homeless Connect, the outreach and referral event designed to bring program information to the homeless. Some participating agencies in Passaic County include: the Passaic County Department of Human Services, Eva’s Village, the New Jersey Community Development Corporation and St. Paul’s Community Development Corporation.

These agencies provide information on accessing housing, food, clothing, hygiene products, medical and dental services, mental health services, family services and more.

Agencies in Mercer County held the Project Homeless Connect event today, in advance of Wednesday’s count, with the state Department of Human Services providing information on NJ 2-1-1 (, NJ FamilyCare ( and NJHelps ( for housing, food, medical, dental and mental health services among others.


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