ELIZABETH – Thanksgiving came early for a number of Union County residents seeking a home, in danger of losing theirs or simply facing financial difficulties when TD Bank made a $15,000 donation to Community Access Unlimited (CAU) for use in the HomeShare Program of Union County.
HomeShare matches people who have a home but who are in need of assistance for various reasons with those seeking a home, thereby helping both parties.
The program, administered by CAU in Union County, helps residents experiencing financial hardship and difficult housing costs stay in their homes by pairing them with people who are currently or soon-to-be homeless. This lessens the financial burden of housing for both – even staying off eviction or foreclosure – while also often providing companionship, financial and personal security and mutual support. CAU identifies potential candidates, performs interviews and background checks and provides follow-up services.
“Thanksgiving is a time when people take stock and say thank you, and in this hard economy more and more people are simply thankful to have a roof over their heads,” said Sid Blanchard, CAU executive director. “Yet for many people, even that basic staple of life is threatened or eludes them. For others, loneliness and fear fills an empty home. Through HomeShare and those that support this program we are able to alleviate some of that hardship and sadness. While that is especially important this time of year, it is essential year round, as well.”
Approximately 1,100 Union County residents are homeless on any given day, according to Union County officials. In addition, families in the New Jersey area require more than $4,000 per month to afford an average two-bedroom apartment, according to a recent report issued by a human services housing collaborative. CAU alone received more than 500 calls in the past year related to housing needs.
Yet for just $2,000 CAU is able to match two residents in a home for three months. While some matches are short-term, others evolve into long-term relationships. The agency expects to assist 40 people through 20 matches in the coming year, many of whom will benefit directly from the TD Bank donation.
“The TD Charitable Foundation is pleased to be able to provide grants to organizations like Community Access Unlimited,” said TD Bank regional vice president, Brian Ziemba. “We are confident that the Union County HomeShare Program is an innovative way to end homelessness in our community and we remain committed to supporting organizations that improve the quality of life for those communities we serve.”
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