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  • Writer's pictureCraig Richards

Committee discusses plausible homeless resolutions


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HAMMONTON—As the weather changes, the coming rising temperatures will bring attention and exposure to an issue challenging Hammonton, homeless individuals. But the efforts of the Homeless Committee may have found the foundational structure to provide aid to those on the street.


On March 26, individuals from the town, non-profits, churches and community members assembled at town hall to discuss possibilities in finding answers to addressing the issue. Those answers began with finding possible strategies, methods and services available to establish a protocol in helping homeless individuals find services and opportunities.


Attending the meeting were Ann Thoresen, LCSW, Chief Operating Officer and Morgan Hartig, LSW, Supervisor, Jewish Family Services. These two discussed both grant funded programs along with existing services that may aid the town in developing action plans to aid the homeless in Hammonton.


Thoresen said the organization assets about 13,000 people a year and staffs about 175 individuals. The organization does not require people to come to them in any set office location. They engage them in the community with a rather robust platform for individuals

experiencing homelessness in terms.


Hartig is the supervisor of Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness Program, PATH. PATH coordinates with Atlantic County Social Services, the state of New Jersey and CRDA to establish what is called the coordinated entry for Atlantic County. What it is designed to do is provide a one-stop assessment for anybody who is experiencing homelessness or an imminent risk of homelessness within the county.


During the meeting three options were presented for consideration to the group. Some New Jersey communities have received grants where a professional would ride along with police officers allowing immediate direct evaluations with homeless individuals encountered on patrols. This individual could suggest immediate and additional services and assistance, if the individual in question is willing to accept it.


A second option could also be grant funded where a professional would be on call and available to officers encountering homeless individuals. Upon receiving the call, the professional would come to the scene and perform an evaluation. From there they could recommend services and/or additional resources to aid the individual.


The third and currently accessible option to the town is to avail themselves of the services and professionals working in the field right now to assist homeless individuals. Thoresen and Hartig both said that the Hammonton Police Department and individuals in the community could call their office to report those spotted in the community that may need their help.


In non-emergency situations they suggested calling their office to get a professional on location to provide an evaluation where the individual is willing to receive aid. While they do not control or oversee many of the resources, they do have the ability to put those in need in contact with organizations that can help.


The meeting on March 26 provided tangible strategies to begin tackling the issue facing the town and more importantly facing those struggling with life on the street. The committee will reconvene in April to follow up on these options and continue to discuss other means to address the issue in Hammonton.

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