New changes coming to Ocean’s Harbor House shelter as it shifts focus to families

As the need shifts to finding transition housing for adults and families, Woods says the burden can’t just be on Harbor House.

News 12 Staff

Aug 19, 2023, 4:46 PM

Updated 245 days ago

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A homeless shelter for runaway youths in Ocean County is closed, but is now transitioning to help families in need.
Alice Woods closed the Harbor House Shelter to homeless youths at the end of July, when there were just three people staying there. And they’ve all been placed with families or at another shelter.
But there are now 12 less beds available in Ocean County.
“There's a tremendous need on a day-to-day basis ... I get calls almost every day from families looking for placements and there's not a place to bring them in Ocean County, that's the problem,” says homeless advocate Terrance Turnbach.
As the need shifts to finding transition housing for adults and families, Woods says the burden can’t just be on Harbor House.
“I believe the family shelter will be more at the center of the conversation around the homeless situation here in Ocean County,” says Woods.
Toms River Police Chief Mitch Little has seen the difference between shelters with resources on-site, versus a temporary few night stay in a local motel.
“You have more control over residents in a shelter,” says Little. “You know where they are, what they need, services can go directly to that spot.”
The topic of a county-run shelter is one that comes up often, but make it a reality is still a long ways off.
“We are closer from the standpoint that the dialogue is more … there's more communication, more awareness, it's just time to take that final step. Let's get a facility,” says Turnbach.


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