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Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness Receives Community Foundation Grant

Trenton, New Jersey - Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness received a $21,250 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President's Grant Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation,  in support of working to end homelessness in Greater Trenton though its Housing First and Rapid Rehousing programs. Funds will be used to provide safety net services and to develop strategies to stabilize the availability of shelter and permanent housing.

Frank A. Cirillo, executive director of the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness, said the funds would be used to support initiatives to prevent and end homelessness in the Trenton/Mercer community, and advance state-wide strategies to stabilize short-term shelter, and fund permanent housing solutions to end homelessness. "The Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness is honored and excited to have been awarded a generous $21,250 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President's Grant Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation to support its efforts to stabilize short term shelter in Mercer County, and advocate for state-wide solutions to fund a safety net for individuals and families who become homeless. This includes the development and funding of rapid permanent housing policies for the homeless," said Cirillo. "Shelters should be safe-havens with no barriers to access, and should be used as a short-term safety net within a system whose goal is permanent housing," said Cirillo. "Housing First and Rapid Rehousing policies should be adopted as State policy. The goal of moving families and individuals as quickly as possible into housing is the Federal direction. It is both humane and cost effective. We need to explore all possible funding options to make these policies a reality, particularly in the challenging years ahead."

Founded in 2004, the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness is a public-private partnership of the county's business, government and the non-profit sectors. Its mission is to develop and implement strategies and systems to end homelessness in Mercer County through permanent housing. 

Utilizing Housing First policy, the Mercer Alliance has developed systems that have become state and national models for ending homelessness for families, singles, and veterans; particularly those experiencing chronic homelessness. As a result of these initiatives Point in Time statics indicate singles homelessness in the Trenton/Mercer area has been reduced by 62% compared to the State average of 43% and the national average of 31%, and ended veterans' homelessness in 2015. Family homelessness has been reduced by 79% compared to the state average of 58% and the national average of 18%.

As impressive as these accomplishments are, there is still a great deal of work to do to prevent homelessness, and to ensure that individuals and families experiencing homelessness are rapidly rehoused and can access the necessary resources and services to succeed. Our census data indicates there were still 201 homeless families and 1443 homeless individuals in the Trenton/Mercer area in 2016.

The Mercer Alliance is extremely grateful that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President's Grant Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation has recognized the value of supporting its initiatives through the generosity of their grant funding.

The Princeton Area Community Foundation promotes philanthropy to advance the well-being of our communities forever. The Community Foundation provides charitable giving expertise to individuals, nonprofits and corporations, and each year invests millions of dollars into the community through grants and scholarships. For more information on the Community Foundation please contact them at 609-219-1800 or online at www.pacf.org.

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