What We’re Doing

BREAKING DOWN SILOS and BUILDING BRIDGES

Together with the many agencies and corporations, both public and private, providing services, including housing, to people who are homelessness, we are CREATING A SYSTEM to end homelessness in Middlesex County, NJ.

COORDINATED ENTRY AND ASSESSMENT PROCESS
Coming Home administers the process whereby all persons experiencing homelessness enter the system of helpful providers through one door by calling 211, whose needs are determined using a uniform assessment tool, and who are prioritized for available resources based on a collaboratively agreed upon prioritization scoring to determine the person’s severity of needs and length of homelessness.

USING DATA TO DRIVE CHANGE
Coming Home is the clearinghouse for homelessness data in the County. We administer the County’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), which facilitates the coordinated provision of services to all seeking them.
We are the Point-in-Time (PIT) coordinator for the County. We train volunteers and agency personnel in the administration of the PIT survey; conduct an analysis of the data gathered and develop an action plan in response to such analysis.
We lead our community’s participation in the Built for Zero Initiative of Community Solutions, a national organization, helping communities end homelessness. This endeavor is helping us fine tune our data measurements and define discrete goals, along with performance measures, to achieve in workable timeframes. There is no one-size fits all to end homelessness, either within or among communities. Collectively, we look at our data, plan and implement an intervention, study its effectiveness in the short term and either continue, tweak or scrap the effort based on objective data and move on with the process.

SOCIAL SERVICE NAVIGATION
Coming Home provides direct case management to persons in the community experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness and entering the system through the 211 Homeless Hotline. With limited funding, we can provide temporary, emergency hotel/motel placement when the shelters are unavailable. The same fund can also be used, if possible, to assist clients in establishing themselves in permanent housing, through the provision of 1 ½ months’ rent. The latter approach clearly leads to a much better outcome for the client and is how we strive to use the funds.

We also launched a 2-year pilot program in 2019 whereby the two New Brunswick hospitals of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH, part of Barnabas Health) and Saint Peter’s University Hospital, fund the cost of two social service navigators employed by Coming Home to address the health related social needs of their high ER utilizing patients in need. The navigators of this Social and Health Services Integration (SHI) Program reach out to the patients identified by each hospital and do their best to address any identified needs of food insecurity, housing instability and breakdown of social support networks and connect them to other benefits, services and opportunities that they, with the clients, have identified as beneficial to increase the clients’ levels of self-sufficiency.

Through the collaboration of the hospitals in SHI, Coming Home hopes to improve its access to the hardest to house and, in many cases, the hardest to find. The dual goals of the SHI program are reducing homelessness and unnecessary and inefficient health care costs, with the most vulnerable residents of Middlesex County being the beneficiaries with stable housing and improved health outcomes.

HOMES FOR HOMELESS PERSONS

What a homeless persons needs is first and foremost, a home. In order to increase the inventory of affordable housing in the County, Coming Home operates its Homes for Homeless (H4H) Program, the goal of which is to catalyze the creation of affordable housing for persons presently without a place to call home. We respond to initiatives from developers, large and small, seeking to house persons who are homeless in their planned developments. We also proactively work to “tee-up” potential projects for the marketplace and partner with vetted developers and social service providers to provide homes for persons without, coupled with needed supports.

Coming Home also makes recommendations on the County’s Housing First Capital Fund, which supports the creation of housing specifically for homeless persons. This function allows Coming Home to encourage the creation of housing based on identified need, rather than political ease or the requirements of funds from other sources.

Coming Home Middlesex