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Ocean County Seeking More Funding to Combat Homelessness

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
Ocean County officials will seek $1.4 million in federal grant funding to combat homelessness, an increase of about 4 percent over last year.

The county freeholder board this week held the final public hearing on $989,514 in federal HOME funding grants, which are used to fund rental assistance, housing rehabilitation and the First-Time Homebuyers program.

The public hearing also addressed more than $1,043,916 million in Community Development Block Grants, some of which is also devoted to homeless programs. Allocations include $285,750 for both housing rehabilitation and emergency housing rehabilitation. A portion of the grant money will also help pay for a number programs for low-income, disabled and senior residents.

The freeholders have occasionally been criticized over the county's lack of a shelter run by the county government. Instead, the county runs a number of programs that place homeless residents in rental properties and hotel rooms. A number of nonprofit organizations also run their own anti-homeless programs, some of which are the beneficiaries of the grant funding.

Among the recipients of grant funding this year are King of Kings Community Church for a homeless shelter, Interfaith Hospitality Network for a shelter and assistance to homeless families with children, Hometown Heroes for housing assistance, Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and Ocean County Hunger Relief. Remaining funding is allocated for senior transportation, handicapped access in various towns and other programs.

In the past, the grants have been used to rehabilitate more than 1,000 homes owned by low-income families, provide assistance to 456 first time homebuyer families and subsidize rent for another 718 families, Freeholder Gerry P. Little said.

“With this money, which represents a 4 percent increase over 2013, we will continue to support these vital programs to help our less-fortunate families have a roof over their heads,” said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, in a statement.

In addition to the county's grant funding, the three largest municipalities in the county – Lakewood, Brick and Toms River – have applied for an additional, combined $1,918,712 in federal funding.
Jeremy May 09, 2014 at 09:09 PM
Wake up. None of that money is getting people out of tent city or off the streets. It's the same programs they've had with a 4% increase.
charlotte May 09, 2014 at 10:07 PM
If only this money would find its way to actually help the homeless instead of being spent of temporary hotel housing and countless undeserving profiteers.
Mare May 10, 2014 at 08:25 AM
This has nothing what so ever to do with Obamacare! What kind of moronic comment is that? The homeless problem in Ocean County has been around long before "Obamacare." One of the problems with the homeless is this, these people have become accustomed to living the way they want to live and they will NOT live in a shelter. Some due to stubborness, but most due to pride. Why don't they take a little parcel of land, like that of tent city, buy it and put small mobile homes on it. Most of these people are getting monthly checks and are able to pay for some of their utilities. They have to do something if they want the homeless communities to "go away." Last but not least, the vast majority of homeless are Veterans, never forget that.
sha May 10, 2014 at 11:45 AM
Goods news for helping those down on their luck. It's about time we help these people have permanent shelter instead of living in the woods.
BillT May 13, 2014 at 08:23 AM
Send them all to Seaside Heights!!!

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