On April 17 At the On Our Own Self Help Center At their monthly Community meeting, Julia Orlando Director of Housing and Human services of Bergen County and Mary Sunden Director of the Bergen County Homeless shelter, made a presentation on the facts and the truth about the Bergen County Homeless shelter in a Q & A session.
Photos courtesy of HRG Homeless and low income resource guide
They spoke about what is happening at the shelter and the services provided. Also they answered questions about rumors and grievances that people had about the running of the shelter. When someone is discharged from the shelter, they explained basically people don’t abide by the rules. They explained about the grievance and appeals process.
Some of the topics that were asked about were regarding complaints about neighbors dealing with talk about shelter people messing up resident’s lawns, doing drugs in the area and other things like panhandling at local stores. The truth of the matter is that not all the problems in the area have to do with the shelter people. Julia mentioned that the new administration is in the county and that they need to know what is going on, that not all the problems are with shelter people. She explained to them what’s going on. It was mentioned that one day they would actually have a cleanup where people of the community and the shelter will clean up sections of Hackensack which is a great idea. This is called: “Slam dunk the junk” Saturday April 26 Rain or shine-Hackensack Cleanup day Sponsored by NJ-Dep. The registration forms will be in “next Step” at the Bergen county shelter!
Dealing with the police and the local government is a challenge in certain areas but is working with them and doing things like making the curfew for guests at the shelter earlier accept for thoughts that work As Well as issuing I.D. Cards at the shelter. One person replied, that is a good idea because there is no good reason to be out late if you’re not being productive. Another person stated that they thought it was bad being “cooped” up. Julia and Mary replied; “it’s also a good incentive to get what you need from the shelter, utilize the services and get housed, then you can stay out and do what you want”.
Most of the discussion was positive. There were a couple of people that did not agree with certain things but that is to be expected. You can’t please everyone. They talked about basic policy and changes made over the years since the existence of the new shelter. It’s an ongoing process.
There are many opportunities at the shelter and services for homeless and low income in our area. They have to have solid rules which evolve as time goes on and the situations of people evolve and as Julia said it’s “organizes chaos”. They were very honest and basically saying that the staff is dealing with what they have and the guest they are helping. Their honesty was commendable. They spoke about getting many people housing and other services like General Assistance(GA), temporary rental assistance(TRA) and permanent housing. When you’re dealing with many people from all different walks of life, including thoughts with serious problems there will be challenges.
All in all it was very productive meeting and not really much drama. There are so many things that people can get out of the shelter. And the ones that are not in the shelter they try to help them find suitable places. They work with everyone that they can. There is still much work to do. Bottom line is it is not a hangout it is a place to get your life back on track and they are working with the community and homeless and low income to get their goals met. Simply, “do what you got to do”! And if you have a problem with them, do the appeals process and get back on track and move on. Remember, some people want to get better, some don’t realize they have problems and some are not yet motivated but most do the right thing and have a better life.
For more information on the shelter call them at: 201-336-6475 or drop in; they are located at 120 so. River Street Hackensack NJ 07601
If you want to know what they have or need more resources you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org