After years of planning, there is finally one unified access point for Atlantic County homeless with the opening of the Atlantic Homeless Alliance in Atlantic City.
The alliance, located in the Atlantic County Office Building on Atlantic Avenue, is a collaboration between lead agency Jewish Family Service of Atlantic and Cape May Counties and the Atlantic City Rescue Mission, Pleasantville Housing Authority and subcontractor the John Brooks Recovery Center.
Director Ann Thoresen said the discussion of a 10-year plan to end homelessness in the county focused in part on “a coordinated point of access for folks experiencing homelessness, where all their needs could be assessed at one location.”
The space at the county complex, donated by the county, is unique in that it’s under the same roof as the county Board of Social Services, Thoresen said, which makes referrals easier and quicker.
Case managers include a substance abuse clinician, mental health clinician, support person and data analyst, as well as a housing locator and outreach aide from the rescue mission.
In addition, data will be collected on reasons for homelessness and the barriers people are facing, which will be collected in a state database shared with the alliance’s equivalents in 18 other counties.
The first couple of days, Thoresen said, have been fairly busy.
“We’ve been pretty steady with the amount of individuals coming through,” she said, “whether they’re walking in off the street or being referred from Social Services.”
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