JFS & Local Agencies Collaborate to Assist Homeless with Single Point of Entry

Posted on February 18, 2014

JFS is excited to report that the agency has been awarded a contract by the Casino Re-Development Authority to mount a single point of entry for homeless individuals and families in Atlantic County.  The new program, the Atlantic Homeless Alliance (AHA), provides a unique opportunity for both consumers and service providers. It will allow agencies to better track who is receiving services and ensure that those with urgent needs connect quickly with targeted help.

On February 18th, the AHA will officially open its doors to the Single Point of Entry located in the County Building in Atlantic City on the first floor. Hours of operation will be Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 2 pm. During afterhours and on weekends AHA operates out of the Atlantic City Rescue Mission (ACRM) and can be contacted at 609-345-5517.

Program participants will receive a full assessment and access to appropriate services in the community. The AHA proposal is a collaborative among nonprofit agencies located in Atlantic County including JFS, the ACRM, Pleasantville Housing Authority (PVHA) and the John Brooks Recovery Center (JBRC). In addition, Atlantic County government is providing space, has assigned staffing and is lending extraordinary support to this effort. This $1.9 million dollar project will run through September 2015.  With the support of the funding organizations, JFS looks to sustain the program by identifying additional funding sources.

“The goal for Atlantic Homeless Alliance is to simplify access to services, track system outcomes to inform and enhance decision making and improve overall system efficiency,” said Ann Thoresen, Director of Atlantic Homeless Alliance. “The collaborators have long experience in addressing the needs of our homeless citizens and are committed to helping individuals who are homeless to develop the best plan possible for their needs.”

With the addition of seven JFS staff members, two ACRM staff, one PHA staff and a subcontract with John Brooks Recovery Center for two positions, the collaborative will be staffed appropriately to address the estimated 2,000 homeless individuals who come through the Atlantic County system annually.  A “single door” will reduce consumer’s frustration and confusion by the lack of a clear resource for homeless assistance.  The outcome will be reduced fragmentation of services, duplication of services and inefficiencies. A coordinated and centralized point of entry will enhance consumer treatment and benefit both government and the non-profit service sector. 

For more information about Atlantic Homeless Alliance please call 609-343-2277. To learn about other JFS services and events, please visit www.jfsatlantic.org.