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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HomeFront

HOMEFRONT PLANS FOR NEW FAMILY CAMPUS

New Family Campus

Extraordinary possibilities can now become realities for homeless and vulnerable families in Mercer County. HomeFront has acquired, at no cost, an 8.5-acre decommissioned Naval base in Ewing Township, which includes a 42,000 sq. ft. building and two smaller structures.

This good fortune could not have come at a more opportune time. The State of New Jersey is preparing to sell the property where HomeFront's Family Preservation Center is located. Over the past decade, this short-term residential safe haven for 40 homeless mothers and their children has offered refuge, support and hope for over 1,800 families.

Rather than facing the prospect of HomeFront itself becoming homeless, this new property will allow us to create a leading-edge, one-stop social service campus. At this time, we are concentrating on the main building, where we will:

  • Create a permanent home for a new, state-of-the-art family shelter
  • Expand current services, such as our job training and ArtSpace
  • Offer new programs like a teaching kitchen and 24-hour childcare
  • Provide on-site access to our community partners, with a centralized hub of support services

This is just the start of our vision for this new approach to social services. With the additional buildings and spacious grounds, we have a long-term plan that includes a diaper bank, more hands-on vocational training and a program to increase civic engagement. But we need the help of a caring community to create this warm and nurturing village of healing and hope for homeless families and a new, permanent "home" for HomeFront for years to come.

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ABC Covers Wall-Breaking Ceremony

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SEND A HOMELESS CHILD TO CAMP
Sponsor Summer Camp Giving a homeless child the best summer ever is a life changing experience for at least 2 people: you and the child.

For homeless and vulnerable children in our community, summer too often means facing dangerous streets, not having enough food to eat, suffering significant summer “learning loss” and missing out on lots of summer fun.

Hard economic times have increased the number of families coming to HomeFront for help and decreased the funding for our services. We are turning to you to give homeless children the best summer of their lives.

Our stellar summer programming includes recreational activities, academic enrichment and eight weeks of free, safe and fun summer camp. Can you sponsor a homeless child for camp this summer?

One child, one week – $135.
One child, one summer of a lifetime – $1,080.

Sponsor a child now

GIVING HOMELESS FAMILIES A SAFE PLACE
TO GO AND TO GROW

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.

HOMEFRONT’S “CHILDREN’S CHAMPIONS”
CREATE BRIGHTER FUTURES

In the U.S., an astonishing 1.7 million children are homeless. That is one out of every 45 children in our community.

Picture of boy

Homelessness and poverty can cycle from generation to generation but so can education, stability and success. "The key to changing this cycle are the children – helping homeless children was the reason HomeFront started over 20 years ago and these children remain a major focus," explains Connie Mercer, executive director. "We must create a new cycle of hope and productivity for these kids."

HomeFront offers a wide range of children’s support programs: tutoring, recreation, health, nutrition, positive social contact and exposure to the surrounding world. Our goal is to ensure that homelessness does not derail a child’s future and that our children grow into young people able to reach their fullest potential.

Homelessness hurts children:

  • Children who are homeless suffer from hunger, poor physical and emotional health and missed educational opportunities.
  • Children who are homeless are twice as likely to go hungry as are children who are not homeless.
  • Homeless children are more likely to have acute and chronic health problems and less access to medical and dental care.
  • Homeless children have three times the rate of emotional and behavioral problems, such as anxiety, depression, sleep problems, withdrawal and aggression.
  • Children without stable homes are more than twice as likely as others to repeat a school grade, be expelled or suspended or drop out of high school.

    When the Bough Breaks: The Effects of Homelessness on Young Children,
    McCoy-Roth, Mackintosh, Murphey, February 2012

Because of all these facts, HomeFront children’s specialists, our “Children’s Champions,” work tirelessly with children, their parents, schools and the community.

Over the past year, 2,200 children were served by HomeFront; thanks to the extraordinary talents, expertise and fortitude that our Children’s Champions” displayed every day, these young people will have the positive and healthy “growing up” years every child needs and every child deserves.

MEETING THE CHALLENGE OF TEACHING
HOMELESS FAMILIES TO BECOME SELF-SUFFICIENT

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!

NEWS

How Many in Your Town Struggle to Make Ends Meet

NJ.com Sept. 14, 2014--A new report from the United Way of Northern New Jersey shows that 38 percent of state households are struggling to meet basic needs with the high cost of living in the Garden State. Read more

WorkFirst Announces 24 Job Placements

WorkFirst staff proudly congratulates HomeFront's 24 clients who have successfully landed jobs over the last two months. It just goes to show how perseverance, a great resume, good interviewing skills and the right qualifications pay off!

Over 1000 Kids Receive Backpacks!

This year, over 1,600 kids went back to school ready to learn. HomeFront's Back to School Campaign provided backpacks loaded with school supplies and a brand new outfit including tennis shoes. Read more

Trenton Thunder Honors HomeFront and Plays Catch with Our Campers

Trenton Thunder honored HomeFront during their HOPE Week at last Friday night’s game. Read more

Over 725 Books Read in HomeFront's Summer Reading Program

Thirty-three children in our Summer Reading Program read over 725 books! We couldn't be prouder of the kids, their moms and Miss Melva Moore, HomeFront's Educational Excellence Director, who made it all happen. Read more

New Family Campus Makes News on Comcast Newsmakers

Comcast's Jill Horner speaks with Connie Mercer, CEO of the Homefront, about New Family Campus and other Opportunities.
 
 

Trenton Times Editorial: HomeFront makes a SPLASH in Delaware River Lessons

August 4, 2014, The lessons of the Delaware River are legion. Experiencing the river not as scenery but a channel and a route to the wide world can widen the imagination. Read more

Shop AmazonSmile and Help HomeFront

Did you know that you can now help homeless families every time you shop online at Amazon? Read more

NJM Insurance Group Announces Cornerstone Gift for HomeFront's New Family Campus

NJM Insurance Group President Bernie Flynn joined NJM staff in creating a magical day for HomeFront's summer campers. Read more

Author, Vouches for Importance of Summer Camps

Regina Calcaterra, memoir author, knows about homelessness because she was homeless. In her book, Etched in Sand, she recounts the harsh conditions from which she not only survived, but grew strong and hugely successful. Read more

NJTV Reports on Homeless Numbers in Mercer County

Click here to view NJTV's coverage homeless numbers in Mercer County. Chronic numbers drop due to support programs and services offered. Read more

Cherry Tree Club Proudly Sends Preschoolers to Kindergarten

We have proudly graduated our rising kindergarteners and wish them success in the next chapter of school! Because of the increase in homelessness, we are lovingly serving dozens of additional kids.

Special Bar Mitzvah Project Make Big Difference

A special thank you to Jared Fraticelli who has raised $2,400 as part of his Bar Mitzvah project. Read more

HomeFront’s Basketball Team Reaches Championship

Congratulations to our home team! While the team did not come home with a trophy, the outcome was still spectacular! Read more

Dictionary Donation

Every year, the Hamilton Grange generously donates enough dictionaries so that children in our Family Preservation Center tutoring programs can have their very own copies. Read more

2012-13 Annual Report Available

HomeFront's new annual report is now available. It highlights the scope of our work and list the donors who have made the work possible. Read more

Poor Kids: Growing Up in Poverty

Take a few worthwhile minutes and view this gripping account of the economic crisis as seen through the eyes of children. Read more

Tyco Helps Families Make a House a Home

Warehouse
Moving into a home is a big first step for homeless families. But it takes a couch to sit on, a table to have meals together and lamps to do homework by--all things that make a house a home. With support from Tyco, HomeFront's Resource Network serves over 3,000 families a year making each home a special place.

Check Out our ArtSpace Web Page

See the art, visit the exhibits and help support our program. (Click here for more information) Read more

We Need Volunteers!

Click here to learn more.

More News...


1880 Princeton Avenue
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
609 989-9417

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