Local officials and executives during an event to announce a pilot program in Middlesex County to fight homelessness and address health-related social needs. 

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs announced the launch of a new pilot project designed to help Middlesex County fight homelessness and address health-related social needs of individuals who are homeless.

Middlesex County was selected for the Housing First initiative, as it represents the home for major healthcare providers Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Saint Peter’s University Hospital. The non-profit organization Coming Home of Middlesex County will also be instrumental in the process.

Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios said: “Ending homelessness is a goal that requires teamwork, experience, and a dedicated network of professionals. I think the words we’ve heard today prove that this partnership will have all those qualities.”

Under the pilot program, DCA will provide 25 tenant-based housing vouchers to people who are homeless and enrolled in the program to help them move into safe and stable housing. Also, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Saint Peter's University Hospital have committed to fund Coming Home of Middlesex County for the cost of two case managers to help the 25 people who receive the housing vouchers, as well as other patients with health-related social needs. Additionally, Coming Home will utilize WellCare's Community Connections database to track referred agencies and participants' social services utilized and program outcomes.

“We have been able to establish this program through the determination of all the organizations involved to step outside their ordinary course of doing business to reach across sectors and collaborate for the benefit of Middlesex County residents. We know that so much of what affects a person’s status happens outside a health care facility or physician’s office,” said Eileen O’ Donnell, Executive Director of Coming Home of Middlesex County, Inc. “Because of the perseverance of the stakeholders in discussions spanning more than a year, we will be able to begin addressing those health-related social needs in a concerted manner.”

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