To combat homelessness in Burlington County, the freeholder board is building a way to connect those in need of shelter with the proper resources.
On Tuesday, Dec. 10, the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the county Human Services Building located in Westampton to announce the opening of the new Housing Hub.
According to county officials, the Housing Hub will serve as a coordinated entry point into housing services for residents of Burlington County experiencing homelessness. It will also serve as a referral site for those who may need additional services.
“The County Housing Hub will provide residents with a streamlined process for seeking assistance from Human Services and its community partners,” said Burlington County Freeholder Felicia Hopson, liaison to the Department of Human Services.
“When residents come to the Housing Hub, staff and community partners will utilize the coordinated assessment developed by our local Continuum of Care System and this information will be used to connect the clients to the services available to help them on site.”
The Housing Hub will have daily volunteers scheduled from various county agencies as well as community partners to assist those seeking housing. Some of the partners at the Housing Hub may include Board of Social Services, Christian Caring Center, Belmont Homes, St. Vincent DePaul, Legacy PATH Services, Soldier On, Salvation Army, Social Security and Children’s System Partners.
According to Hopson, the goal of the Housing Hub is to reduce barriers for the county’s at-risk residents while increasing daily interface between the county’s social services agencies.
“This is a unique model in the state and ultimately moves us toward the goals recommended by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development of having a single point of entry. We are hopeful that this will lead to consideration of increased funding from HUD in the future. We believe having all the service providers in the room together will lead to improved care for our residents,” Hopson said.
While strides have been made to reduce the homelessness rate in Burlington County, according to State Sen. Troy Singleton, more needs to be done to help connect people who are homeless to the resources that can help them.
“That is why the Housing Hub – which will provide a centralized point of access to housing and social services – is needed now, more than ever,” Singleton said.
“I am thankful for the leadership of Freeholder Hopson and the Freeholder Board for their relentless commitment to finding solutions to help the homeless in Burlington County.”