HomeFront: helping families break the cycle of poverty
The homeless problem is smaller than you think.

The homeless problem in Mercer County is smaller than you think.

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Dramatic possibilities have opened up for the many homeless and very low-income families served by HomeFront, thanks to a $1 million challenge gift from The David Tepper Charitable Foundation, Inc (the Foundation). The gift is the largest ever received by HomeFront, an organization whose mission is to end homelessness in Central New Jersey by harnessing the caring, resources and expertise of the community. The funds will support the organization’s new Family Campus in Ewing Township, a one-stop social service campus scheduled to open in late summer of 2015.

New Family Campus
From left: Connie Mercer, HomeFront founder and executive director; Celia Bernstein, HomeFront chief operating officer; and Andy Ward, owner of Princeton Construction Group, the general contractor for the project, at the site of the new HomeFront Family Campus..

This unprecedented gift is exactly what we need to transform this former military facility into the warm and welcoming ‘village of healing and hope’ we’ve dreamed of and planned for,” says Connie Mercer, HomeFront’s founder and executive director.

“HomeFront is all about transformation: for over 24 years, we have helped homeless families turn their lives around, from dark days without even the most basic necessities to self-sustaining lives filled with the hope of an even-brighter future. And now, thanks to The David Tepper Charitable Foundation’s wonderful generosity, we are able to change forever the breadth of support we provide to our most vulnerable neighbors.”

The Foundation will match every dollar raised with two, up to the $1 million dollar gift., “This is more than a gift, it is an investment in the community and our collective future,” David Tepper explains. “The ability to provide families in distress a place to reorganize and re-energize is vital to helping break the cycle of poverty. HomeFront is at the forefront of the battle against poverty and we are proud to support their efforts to provide shelter, job training, education, life skills and social services all under one roof so that families in distress are able to stay together and work to create a better life.”

In November 2013, at the end of a complicated seven-year process, HomeFront acquired, at no cost, the 8.5-acre decommissioned Naval base that is the site of their new Family Campus. This good news came just as HomeFront had been told by the State of New Jersey that the property where their Family Preservation Center is located was being sold, leaving the organization with the disconcerting possibility that they themselves would be homeless.

Instead, this extensive new property allows the organization to create – and families to benefit from – an innovative one-stop social service Campus. This means HomeFront will be able to help families in ways that were never possible before:

  • Create a permanent home for a new, state-of-the-art family shelter, able for the first time to accommodate families with men
  • Expand current services, such as job training and art therapy programs
  • Offer new programs like a teaching kitchen and a pilot 24 hour/emergency childcare center
  • Create a true centralized campus of support services by providing office space - and, therefore, onsite access - to community partners such as Womanspace for victims of domestic violence and Family Guidance, for mental health issues
To donate and be part of the 2-for-1 Challenge, or for more information about the HomeFront Family Campus, call Judy Long, Director of Development, at 609-989-9417, extension 107, or e-mail her at JudyL@HomeFrontNJ.org.



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On any given day in Mercer County there are more than 1,800 homeless people. More than half are families with young children. In fact, the average age of a HomeFront client is seven years old. These children's parents are not looking for handouts. Most are dedicated, hard-working and sometimes holding down two or three jobs, yet they still can't afford the county's cheapest housing. HomeFront provides each family what they need most. First is always a place to call home, then groceries, job skills, childcare, academic support for mom and kids – whatever it takes to be safe and secure.


Back to School Basics

Not only does HomeFront provide support services once a family becomes homeless, we also help prevent homelessness whenever possible.

This year HomeFront distributed over $500,000 in back rent, security deposits and utilities to families in crisis and on the brink of facing the horror of homelessness. These funds are carefully administered to families who have no significant issues other than being a tragic victim of the recession or bureaucracy. However, homelessness prevention is about much more than money and keeping the family in a home is only the first step.

For instance, HomeFront helps families navigate the bureaucratic system so they may receive the benefits and supports to which they are entitled. Often families have trouble figuring out where to go or who to call, or for that matter, if they qualify for assistance. Sometimes it’s a coat of fresh paint that will change a landlord’s eviction notice, or other times, it is helping a client tap into the proper social service agency.

947 FamiliesYet another aspect to homelessness prevention is teaching job skills and promoting education so that families can increase their earning power. We make sure families have all essential life-skill components of self-sufficiency – including teaching them how to care for their home ensuring that it’s kept tidy and clean; shopping smart so the family eats healthy and mom prepares nutritious meals; and making sure that children are nurtured academically and socially.

With each client, HomeFront’s goal is the same––to help them through the crisis so they can stay in their home.

Just as vaccines that prevent disease work, so does homelessness prevention. A family’s needs may be challenging, but the end result is a holistic preventive program that keeps families in their home!


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We Need Volunteers!

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Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
609 989-9417


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