Featured photo: HP entered HABcore in 2013 at the age of 10. She is now 19 and a senior in high school. She was recently accepted into Scranton University where she will be studying Health Administration.

Thank you to Steve Heisman, Executive Director of HABcore for his input!

HABcore Mission and History

HABcore, by providing permanent housing and individualized support, helps homeless families, veterans and individuals with special needs move through crisis to stability, giving them the opportunity to improve their lives. HABcore currently provides a safe home for approximately 400 people, including 85 families with 150 children that were previously homeless.

HABcore started in the late 1980s. After several LunchBreak (a nonprofit organization that freely provides food, clothing, life skills and fellowship to those in need in Monmouth County and beyond) volunteers found that many people they were feeding did not have substantial housing, they sought to begin a new organization to offer affordable housing in the Greater Red Bank region. Unfortunately, before the organization could launch, three homeless men froze to death on the streets of Red Bank. The “HAB” in HABcore was derived from the initials of those three men.

HABcore started with one boarding home in Red Bank in 1988, which housed five people. In 1992, HABcore implemented an independent living apartment program which allowed them to meet the needs of individuals and families who are able to live alone. Today, they have two boarding homes and have expanded across Monmouth and into Ocean County, growing from five to 400 residents.

Homelessness Statistics

Without the stability of a permanent home, surviving day-to-day is difficult. In 2020, nearly 10,000 individuals and families in New Jersey were homeless. This is a 9% increase from 2019. In the Monmouth/Ocean County region, homelessness increased nearly 12% over the same time period. Factors like a lack of affordable housing, income inequality and systemic racism continue to drive up these numbers. The COVID-19 pandemic has also worsened conditions for people who are experiencing or are at risk of falling into homelessness. 

Strengthening Families Program

HABcore’s Strengthening Families Program provides supportive services to formerly homeless families. The goals for the families are to maintain a stable home, strengthen the family, enable them to become healthier, improve children’s chances for success and strengthen their financial position.

A new addition to the program is Supported Employment Services, which provides direct vocational training and workplace preparation services. To deliver this new component, Supportive Housing Coordinators work with clients one-on-one to learn the individual’s needs, skills and interests. Services include assessing abilities, advocacy, job preparation support, creative job placement, ongoing on-the-job skills training, job coaching, identifying the best transportation method, visiting the location with the resident, and other support services necessary to help residents maintain and thrive in a fulfilling position. The Supportive Housing Coordinator also creates and maintains relationships with businesses and job/training placement agencies to promote the program for participant placement.

The Strengthening Families Program starts with an initial service planning period to help families access all the benefits and services for which they are eligible. Service plans are based on strengths-based planning, individualized and client-driven service, stigma reduction, team-based and flexible interventions, collaboration, empowerment, and the goal of seamless assimilation. Service delivery is an important component of quality housing and self-sufficiency within local communities. HABcore staff and service providers continuously communicate with residents to determine the best solutions to their needs and proactively work to make connections to necessary services.

The families that take part in the Strengthening Families Program drive their long-range goals with self-sufficiency in mind. The family identifies the changes they would like to make and what they need to reach their highest potential as a unit. The Case Manager focuses on an all-encompassing assessment strategy which includes strengths, barriers and goals in multiple areas such as housing, increasing skills, income, dynamics, health, social and recreational opportunities.

HABcore expanded this program to 37 families in 2021.

Program Impact

During the 2020–2021 grant year, the 37 families participating in HABcore’s Strengthening Families program achieved:

  • 95% housing retention rate (HABcore is still working to obtain housing for 2 families in this program, due to the post-pandemic elevated real estate market)
  • 95% of families mastered financial literacy skills
  • 95% of households obtained or maintained employment

The overall impact goals for the program are families remaining stably housed, paying down their debt or increasing savings, maintaining or increasing their income, children in families improving or maintaining school performance and families improving their overall health.

Visit HABcore’s website to learn more about the Strengthening Families Program and all the ways HABcore is helping people in our community improve their lives.