FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 26, 2009

CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia, 908-527-4419
Wayne Avery, 908-527-4742


Federal Government Awards Union County
$3.5 Million to Aid Homeless


Elizabeth, NJ - In competition with state and local governments and non-profit organizations throughout the United States, Union County successfully secured $3,415,987 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD), Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance program.  These funds provide permanent and transitional housing as well as support services for homeless individuals and families.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced on February 19, 2009 that grants were awarded to approximately 200 homeless service programs in New Jersey.  Union County’s Department of Human Services submitted the county’s application to HUD in collaboration with the Plainfield Housing Authority; the Elizabeth Housing Authority; Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services, Inc; Community Access Unlimited; the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless; Homefirst Interfaith Housing and Family Services, Inc; Volunteers of America and Collaborative Support Programs of NJ; the YMCA of Eastern Union County; and the YWCA of Eastern Union County, all agencies that serve those who become homeless.

“Thanks to the hard work of our Department of Human Services, Union County has been successful in providing not only housing, but vital services that can help break the homeless cycle,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “Both individuals and families are affected by homelessness and we will do all we can to make sure they get the help they need.”

In addition to transitional housing (up to 18 months) and permanent housing, the HUD Continuum of Care program funds are used to meet the needs of homeless clients transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing with support services such as job training; mental health counseling; substance abuse treatment; and, child care services.

According to Director Guzzo, County has received $23,791,295 since 1998.  HUD funding totaled $1,346,620 in 2006 and $3,025,676 in 2007. Currently 19 of Union County’s programs will receive renewed funding and one new program was funded that will develop eight new units of permanent housing to serve the disabled.  The county anticipates serving at least 300 individuals and families with HUD funds.