Homeless Solutions, Inc. (HSI), Family Promise of Morris County (FP) and Morris Habitat for Humanity (MHH) have announced they are working together to provide hope for women experiencing homelessness through a project utilizing upgraded, existing homes owned by the County of Morris.
The partnership began in early 2020 when FP and HSI collaborated on a joint application to utilize the Morris County-owned houses at Central Park in Parsippany to address human services needs identified by the Morris County Continuum of Care. The partnership leverages HSI’s experience in affordable housing and FP’s expertise in social work and case management for an innovative approach to ending homelessness.
“This is an amazing opportunity to work together. Sharing our resources and support from local community providers will allow us to convert this property into safe, affordable, shared housing for vulnerable women in our community. We thank the Morris County Commissioners and the Morris Advisory Leadership Group for embracing our vision for how this property can meet the needs of our community,” said HSI CEO Dan McGuire, FP CEO Joann Bjornson and MHH CEO Blair Wilson in a joint statement.
The campus of nine homes, dubbed Promising Solutions through the partnership, is being upgraded by MHH.
The homes are in need of extensive renovations to the kitchens, bathrooms, and floors of the houses. Phase 1 of the project, which is to renovate four of the homes, is well underway and will be completed this winter. Phase 2 will complete the project including renovations to the remaining five homes, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
“The renovation work so far has been impeccable, and dedicating these homes as a new residential campus for at-risk women will address an essential need in our community for women who have been left homeless or on the verge of homelessness,” said County Commissioner Tayfun Selen, a board liaison to Human Services programs.
The housing is ideally located in close proximity to many community resources including the Interfaith Food Pantry, Morris County Non-Profit Mall and FP’s Programs, with easy access to public transportation. The housing will eventually accommodate up to 32 women in a shared housing model. It comes at a pivotal time, with economic fallout from the pandemic causing spikes in homelessness.
The houses were once part of the Greystone Park State Psychiatric Hospital, which had operated on a sprawling campus now owned by Morris County and used as parkland as well as grounds for various government and non-profit human services programs. The hospital was relocated years ago in newer facilities on a smaller, state-owned tract located west of the parkland
Promising Solutions is already seeing positive results.
“I don’t know where I would be without this opportunity. I had to flee from my situation and was living on the streets. It was cold and scary but now I feel safe and have the support I need. I’m so grateful for this place and for those that made it possible. I’m truly overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers,” said a current tenant at the residential campus, who was previously homeless.
Each organization has a specific role. HSI is overseeing the renovations and will serve as landlord and maintain the buildings and grounds. FP will provide social services through a team approach including individual case management, referrals and linkages to appropriate resources for all tenants to ensure they get the support needed to stay on track for success. MHH is the perfect partner for the renovations. They not only made it affordable with their trusted labor, but they will also enlist volunteer resources – a true community effort.