HELP HABcore HOUSE THE HOMELESS
HABcore, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation serving Ocean and Monmouth counties which provides permanent housing and individualized support, helping homeless families, veterans, and individuals with special needs move through crisis to stability, giving them the opportunity to improve their lives.
In the late 1980’s, several LunchBreak (a charitable organization dedicated to feeding the hungry in the greater Red Bank, NJ area) volunteers conducted a survey and found that a large percentage of the people they were feeding were living in substandard housing. These volunteers initiated a new organization whose purpose was to provide affordable housing in the same geographic area. Unfortunately, before the new agency was able to launch, three homeless men froze to death on the streets of Red Bank. The "HAB" in HABcore was derived from the initials of these three men.
2018 marks HABcore’s 30th anniversary! In terms of physical growth, we have expanded from five residents to nearly 270 since our inception in 1988. We have doubled in size in the last four years. We currently operate two large boarding homes in Red Bank and Asbury Park with 51 residents and many “graduate” independent but supportive apartments. The Independent Living Program has different components:
- Properties we own in Red Bank, Keansburg, Eatontown, and Beachwood which house 38 residents.
- Properties we lease through a HUD-funded program scattered all over Monmouth County which house 150 residents from the Bayshore area to Spring Lake Heights.
- Properties we lease through a HUD-funded program in Ocean County which house 19 residents from Brick to Little Egg Harbor.
- A Rapid Re-Housing program in Ocean County which provides assistance to homeless families for up to two years with a design on promoting independence after that time.
- In January 2018, HUD awarded us an additional $150k+ to expand our Monmouth and Ocean programs.
- We are also eagerly awaiting the go-ahead to work on a 20-unit building on Ft Monmouth.
This Independent Living Program is home to veterans, individuals with special needs, and 52 families with 86 children.
HABcore has extensive experience in providing permanent supportive housing to low-income individuals and families. Central to our philosophy is the recognition that we must help our clients attack the root causes of their poverty. As our population has evolved to one where many are people with disabilities, we have expanded support services to accommodate their needs and to foster self-sufficiency. The primary goal of our programs is to furnish our residents with the tools to reach their highest level of independent living.
HABcore believes in specific, measurable outcomes. It is a priority for HABcore to ensure we are making an impact in our residents’ lives by providing supportive services through our team of licensed social workers to all those who are housed in our apartments. Our residents can achieve success when resources are made available through these supportive services.
- 95% of all residents remained in permanent housing for more than 1 year; 84% for 3 years; 72% for 5 years.
- 80% of our departing boarding home residents over the last ten years have gone on to live in a more independent setting or family reunification.
- 99% of participating adults maintained or increased their total income.
In addition to statistical objectives, the evidence of our agency’s success is found in the personal stories of our residents.
George, Carrie and their son, Steven will celebrate five years in HABcore’s Supportive Housing Program this coming June. Prior to HABcore, the family moved between local motels. George and Carrie were in constant fear of losing custody of their infant son, as a motel is not legally recognized as being an adequate home for a child. Since moving into their own apartment and receiving regular support services from their social worker, Kayla, George and Carrie feel an enormous weight has been lifted from their shoulders, as the threat of family separation is no longer evident. George, who is developmentally disabled and suffers from a chronic health condition, has been working at his full-time job at Best Market for six years. He also coaches softball and is a volunteer firefighter. Carrie, who has a developmental disability, spends her time caring for her elderly mother and will be looking for part-time work when Steven enters kindergarten in the fall. Steven enrolling in school is no small achievement as his speech was significantly delayed. However, the speech therapy he received through the Early Intervention program was so successful that he no longer has signs of any delay. Steven always tells his HABcore social worker that he can’t wait to start school and make new friends!
Heather and her son Andrew moved into their new home in October 2016 after being homeless on and off during the previous three years. Heather successfully completed a business administrative assistant certification course at Brookdale Community College and has been working full time at the Affordable Housing Alliance since January 2017, and recently received a promotion. Heather is in the process of completing the application process for Thomas Edison State College, where she can earn her bachelor’s degree completely online.
Anne and her 11 year-old son, Patrick, were the first family to move into HABcore’s property in Beachwood, New Jersey. Anne and her son, who has special needs, are in a safe, stable home after 10 years of homelessness due to Anne losing her job, losing her home to Hurricane Sandy and health issues. Anne is working for Patrick’s school while her son has finally been able to attend the same school for an extended period, giving him the opportunity to receive services specific to his needs and to build relationships with his peers and teachers. Per Anne, “HABcore has given us hope for the future, a chance to live”.
The effectiveness of this program’s outcome and management can be evidenced not only by the performance measures and outputs of the participants but by the fact that both Monmouth and Ocean counties ask HABcore to continue to expand this program year after year and rank it as one of the highest in their federal funding applications.
HABcore needs financial and political support to help ensure that the less fortunate of Monmouth County can have a safe home to live and the tools necessary to rebuild their lives.
HABcore is a tremendous asset to the community in that we are caring for people who, in many cases, were previously supported by the state at a cost in excess of $200,000 per year, and we are preventing individuals from entering the costly hospital system. 85% of our current residents have previously been in that system. According to NJHMFA, there are 8,532 homeless people in New Jersey.
Addressing homelessness can reduce crime as people don’t feel the need to steal to supply basic needs. It can reduce substance abuse as it reduces the need to self-medicate. It reduces the inefficient use of the emergency room for warmth and other services such as ambulances and police as the residents are more stable and not decompensating.
Financially, it makes sense. Approximately 90 cents of every dollar expended by HABcore are directly for programmatic needs (92.4 according to our last audit). Many tax dollars are spent inefficiently on motel rooms. While it costs between $100,000 and $300,000 annually to house someone in the state system, it costs less than $15,000 to support them at HABcore. This is while providing them with freedom, independence, stability, dignity, and hope. What price can you put on that?