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Freeholders Award $300K For Homeless, Disabled Veteran Housing in Emerson

An Elmwood Park veteran at the Memorial Day parade in 2015.
An Elmwood Park veteran at the Memorial Day parade in 2015. Photo Credit: Facebook

EMERSON, N.J. -- The Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders on Wednesday passed a resolution awarding $300,000 to the Emerson Veterans Supportive Housing project.

The funds will be used to build 14 units that will house homeless or disabled veterans.

One source of funding for this project is Community Development funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is targeted and administered by the Bergen County Division of Community Development as a pass-through. The remainder of the construction funding will come from the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief Fund.

"More than 50 years ago, John F. Kennedy said 'As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them,'" said Freeholder David Ganz, who serves as the board's veterans liaison.

"My son Scott served this country as an Army combat engineer and tragically took his own life in February 2013 after returning home from duty, where he suffered a traumatic head injury.

"It is imperative that we give our returning veterans not only a place to live, but the treatment and services they need to heal both physical and psychological wounds," Ganz continued. "I am proud to be part of a Freeholder board that upholds that commitment to Bergen County's veterans with this project."

The Emerson Veterans Supportive Housing project is a partnership between the Emerson American Legion, who owns the property, and the Bergen County Housing Development Corporation, who will lease and operate the housing. Additionally, social services for the veterans that are eventually housed there will be provided by Catholic Charities, Diocese of Newark, which will maintain an office on site, staffed by a supportive case manager.

"Ending veteran homelessness is something we can all get behind," said Freeholder Chairman Steve Tanelli. "We owe it to the men and women who risk their lives protecting our freedoms to take care of them when they return."

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