Posted Thursday, September 9th, 2010

The Morris County Freeholders have approved a new 10-year lease with Homeless Solutions that allows the agency to continue to operate a homeless shelter in a county-owned building at 540 West Hanover Ave., in Morris Township.

Homeless Solutions has been leasing the building that once housed the county’s nursing home for $1 from the county since 1985 when the freeholders agreed to let the agency use the first floor as an emergency shelter.

Over the years, fundraising campaigns have allowed the agency to expand to the building’s second floor and to increase its services to the homeless.

Dr. Elizabeth S. Hall, president of Homeless Solutions, said the agency now offers a Family Shelter for women and their children, a Women’s Shelter, a Men’s Shelter and a Safe Haven Shelter for homeless adults who are mentally ill.

She said the Morris County Board of Freeholders has been a strong partner of her agency in support of those in the community who become homeless.

“Without the use of the county building for our shelter services, families, men, women and children would have no place to go to pull their lives together and restore stability,” Hall said. “We are able to provide shelter and services because of the county’s extraordinary support of our work.”

The Family Shelter for women and their children provides case management, independent living skills training, parenting education, counseling, and linkages to medical care, child care and transportation, Hall said. According to Hall, the Family Shelter served 37 families including 63 children in 2009.

The Women’s Shelter housed 53 women last year, most of whom were single, generally in their late 20s to 40s, and who usually entered the shelter because of divorce, domestic violence or drug/alcohol addiction issues, Hall said.

Hall said the Men’s Shelter, which last year served 112 men, provides case management services and money management training, and assists with benefit enrollment and placement in permanent housing.

The Safe Haven shelter can house up to 20 men and women and in conjunction with the Mental Health Association of Morris County provides case management and outreach services homeless adults who are mentally ill. According to Hall, Safe Haven shelters 55 individuals each year and has service contact with more than 250 other mentally ill individuals who are in need in Morris County.

“The freeholders are proud to continue our partnership with Homeless Solutions and to help this outstanding agency provide emergency shelter and programs to those in need,” said Freeholder Director Gene Feyl.