Lend a Helping Hand: Donations Sought for the Homeless

Posted on November 25, 2018

SOMERVILLE – The holiday season is upon us. For many it is a time to lend a helping hand to people who are less fortunate.

With that in mind, Freeholder Deputy Director Brian D. Levine invites residents to donate personal and clothing items to be included in packages that will be distributed Jan. 23, 2019, when the county conducts its annual Point-in-Time survey of homeless individuals and families in Somerset County.

Point-in-Time volunteers will interview the homeless as part of Project Homeless Connect. Social service organizations will be on hand to screen clients for relevant services and distribute donated items.

Requested personal items include shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash, deodorant, body lotion and feminine hygiene products, as well as new blankets and towels. Clothing items include new hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, socks, underwear, T-shirts, sweatshirts and pants. Other items include bottled water, juice boxes and individually wrapped snacks such as granola bars, crackers, nuts or trail mix.

“Given the difficult economy, individuals and families who already are vulnerable are finding it even more difficult to make ends meet,” said Freeholder Levine, human services liaison. “I want to thank the public for their generosity in the past in providing items to be distributed during the survey process. All donations are greatly appreciated.”

Donations can be dropped off weekdays, except holidays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Jan. 18 at the Somerset County Community Development Office, located on the fourth floor of the Human Services Building at 27 Warren St., Somerville, NJ 08876. County offices will be closed Nov. 22 and 23 for Thanksgiving, Dec. 24 and 25 for Christmas, and Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day.

Free parking is available in the visitor parking lot on the corner of Warren Street and Veterans Memorial Parkway. Additional parking is available in the parking deck adjacent to 27 Warren St., on the third and fourth floors only. Metered parking is available on Main Street.

The Point-in-Time survey is part of a statewide effort to obtain an accurate snapshot of New Jersey’s homeless population in response to a directive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The data also is used by the county and local nonprofit agencies when applying for grants to assist the homeless population.

Collecting baseline data is essential to understanding the causes of homelessness and designing effective responses. Somerset County is required to report the number of people who are homeless at particular intervals in order to apply for HUD Continuum-of-Care funding, a competitive grant that provides housing and supportive services to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Data collection at regular intervals also helps track progress toward reducing homelessness.

For more information, contact Tom Scherr in the Somerset County Community Development Office at (908) 541-5756 or scherr@co.somerset.nj.us.

Source: Somerset County Office of Public Information