While pressing homelessness has not greatly affected the township, it has teamed with a local nonprofit to help fight it.
The Beloved Project works to stem both homelessness and hunger. Founder Claudine Archer began the program, based in Burlington County, five years ago to provide more long-term solutions to those issues.
“At the time, I knew nothing about it. I was just a liaison for the department,” Delran police officer Joe Wagner said. “When we got there, [Claudine] really sold herself.
“The woman is a saint.”
The police department has long provided short-term solutions to those dealing with hunger and or homelessness, but what The Beloved Project further does is partner up with other organizations to help victims with bankruptcy, expungement and warrant issues, among others.
“Her long-term goal is to help people get off the street and into their careers, houses, jobs, etc.,” Wagner noted. “She’s been a godsend for us because when we deal with a situation where someone needs assistance, we turn it over to her.”
The police partnership with The Beloved Project began in March, but other local departments have recently become involved with an internal collection drive in which officers bring items like toothbrushes, deodorant, socks to collection bins inside the municipal building. The police have also encouraged government officials to donate items or money where they can.
“She asked if we could assist her in this drive, where she was collecting toiletry items for the winter time,” Wagner said of Archer. “It’s been nice to have others participate in the program as well.”
While the drive is currently internal, Wagner wants to again reach out to Archer to see if it can be extended in time and size to the public. Details have yet to be released. The police and The Beloved Project have now collaborated several times since their partnership began.