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What services are available to help the homeless?

Last Updated: 04/15/2020

New Jersey residents experiencing homelessness should call 2-1-1 for help.

2-1-1 community resource specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can help clients who speak many different languages. Information provided will be kept confidential, except for information that needs to be shared with providers involved in providing shelter or shelter-related services.

In addition, the Social Service for the Homeless (SSH) program assists families and individuals who are experiencing homelessness or are at imminent risk of becoming homeless, but are not eligible for welfare (usually because their income is too high) and so are not eligible for Emergency Assistance.

The SSH program provides emergency food, emergency shelter and payment of security or utility deposits as well as back rent, mortgage and utilities costs. These services, which are available on a 24-hour emergency basis, also include referral services and limited case management.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved New Jersey's request to use emergency, non-congregate sheltering for individuals impacted by COVID-19 that do not have the means or ability to isolate themselves. This allows State, county, and local entities to be reimbursed for providing housing at hotels or motels for certain vulnerable populations, including: homeless families who live in congregate shelters with at least one family member who has tested positive for COVID-19 and homeless individuals who require quarantine or isolation due to a positive test for COVID-19.

In addition, in response to the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak, the State is:

  • Automatically extending for 60 days WorkFirst New Jersey cash assistance to individuals whose case is up for renewal in March or April;
  • Extending all Emergency Assistance cases through April 30;
  • Deeming the current state of emergency as a good cause exemption for the work requirements in WorkFirst New Jersey and SNAP and suspending all adverse actions for non-compliance;
  • Convening New Jersey food banks and community pantries to focus on preparedness planning and distribution; and
  • Working with homeless shelters to address cleaning and self-isolation policies.

Source: https://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/news/press/2020/approved/20200318b.html