OCEANPORT – Monmouth County will soon have a new homeless shelter to provide aid for those in need.
Members of the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders took scissors to a large red ribbon on a brisk November morning at its Fort Monmouth location.
“We have an obligation to help our Monmouth County residents who may not be able to help themselves due to a number of circumstances,” said Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone, liaison to the Department of Public Works and Engineering.
“Cutting the ribbon on this exceptional facility symbolizes the opening of a safe haven that will help this vulnerable population overcome their respective obstacles,” Arnone added.
Freeholder Lillian G. Burry who is also a board member of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) said, “the former emergency homeless shelter was lost during Superstorm Sandy, which forced its occupants to relocate to other facilities.”
FMERA funded the construction of the 4,500-square-foot shelter, which will offer temporary housing, counseling and other services to adults until further resources are identified. These services are funded by Monmouth County and administered by the Affordable Housing Alliance (AHA).
“Both the County and FMERA understood the need to replace the ruined shelter and, through a collaborative partnership, we were able to achieve the goal of once again providing lodging and services to the homeless,” Burry said.
The new facility will be able to house at least 16 residents for a 30-day period each. Housing includes a 12-bed dorm for men, a four-bed dorm for women, separate restrooms and showers for men and women, a laundry room, a clothing sorting and storage room, a counseling office and a security desk.
The central resident common area has a kitchen and pantry, a 16-person dining area, a computer nook and a seating area with a television.
“Homelessness is a life-altering circumstance that can be attributed to a number of factors, such as lack of affordable housing and absence of services to help with mental illnesses and substance abuse issues,” said Freeholder Susan M. Kiley, liaison to the Department of Human Services.
Kiely added, “Through the new shelter, the County and AHA will be able to deliver temporary relief and quality support to this extremely vulnerable population.”
For additional information about housing services in Monmouth County, visit visitmonmouth.com.