With November in full swing, and the holiday on the horizon, we are reminded that the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, this year December 1, has traditionally been set as the National Day of Giving. Except, this year has been like no other.Read More
BRIDGETON, NJ (July 11, 2017) — Ending homelessness by 2020 in one of New Jersey’s most poverty stricken counties–that’s the goal of the Cumberland County Housing First Collaborative. Inspira Health Network, a founding member of the collaborative, has announced a $50,000 donation to help fund the effort. In this, its start-up year, the collaborative is working to house 42 chronically homeless individuals. Inspira also has committed to provide behavioral health and logistical support to ensure the collaborative’s success.
"Our mission calls us to improve the lives of all we serve," said John DiAngelo, president and CEO of Inspira Health Network. "We believe that housing is essential if we are to successfully meet the medical and behavioral health needs of individuals and families who are currently homeless. I am grateful for the community partners who make up the collaborative as well as the M25 Initiative for its leadership."
The M25 Initiative serves as the facilitator and lead funding agent of the Housing First Collaborative. Other members of the collaborative include: PRAC of New Jersey, Resources for Independent Living, CompleteCare, the Cumberland County Jail, and Inspira Health Network. M25 is the financial and logistical support system for the Cumberland County Code Blue Coalition, which provides warm overnight accommodations for homeless people on the coldest of winter nights.
“Homelessness is a complex issue with a simple solution, namely a home,” said Robin Weinstein, Ed.D., founder and president of the M25 Initiative. “We believe that housing is a human right and that we have a responsibility to look after one another in this community. This collaborative redesigns how we handle poverty and homelessness in Cumberland County. We are moving from managing poverty to overcoming it! And, we will do it together!”
Following in the footsteps of successful initiatives in Utah and several New Jersey counties and cities, the Housing First Collaborative has chosen to employ the Housing First model. As the name suggests, this model places people in their own dwelling first, while simultaneously making sure that all needed medical, behavioral health and social services are being provided. Similar efforts have shown that the transition out of homelessness is much more likely to succeed if it begins with placement in permanent housing.
Bergen County has seen over 700 individuals find permanent housing; 20 percent of who were once considered chronically homeless. Camden County, another area that uses a Housing First approach, has seen a 50 to 60 percent increase of individuals successfully remain in housing and not falling back into homelessness. Mercer County has seen its own use of these policies save taxpayers as much as $10,000 to $12,000 per year per client, while also reducing homelessness by 28 percent.
In 2015, Inspira Health Network provided $3,000 in seed money to help M25 develop a program to eliminate homelessness. Inspira has also provided clinical expertise through its Behavioral Health Services. Dave Moore, executive director of Behavioral Health for Inspira, serves on the M25 Board, as does Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly, who also serves as a trustee on the Inspira Health Network Board.
The collaborative’s members hope that Inspira’s $50,000 donation will spur other organizations, businesses and individuals to support their effort to end homelessness.
“Every donation is viewed as an investment in the future of our homeless neighbors and the communities we call home,” said Dr. Weinstein. “This program will save lives and save our community money. As we holistically address homelessness as a community, we will discover the savings and synergy that will allow our community to move from the poorest in the state to the most prosperous. Thoughtful compassion is the path to our county’s renewal and prosperity.”
For more information about the Cumberland County Housing First Collaborative and to donate or get involved, please visit www.endhomelessness2020.com or call 1-844-M25-HOPE.
About Inspira Health Network
Inspira Health Network is a charitable nonprofit health care organization serving communities across southern New Jersey. The network, which traces its roots to 1899, comprises three hospitals, a comprehensive cancer center, several multi-specialty health centers and a total of more than 125 access points. These include urgent care; outpatient imaging and rehabilitation; numerous specialty centers, including sleep medicine, cardiac testing, digestive health and wound care; home care and hospice; and more than 30 primary and specialty physician practices in Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem and Camden counties.
Together with its medical staff of more than 1,100 physicians and other care providers, as well as more than 5,700 employees, Inspira Health Network provides evidence-based care to help each patient achieve the best possible outcome. Accredited by DNV Healthcare, the network’s clinical and support staffs are focused on providing quality care in a safe environment. For more information about Inspira Health Network, visit www.InspiraHealthNetwork.org or call 1-800-INSPIRA.