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HABcore is a hero to the homeless in Red Bank

By STEVEN VIERA
Staff Writer

RED BANK — Some 12,000 people make their homes in the borough, but for individuals who are not fortunate enough to have a place to go at night, there is an organization that wants to help.

For nearly three decades, HABcore, a nonprofit based in Red Bank, has worked to provide stability, dignity and hope to individuals and families who are either homeless or in danger of becoming homeless through a series of housing programs and other services.

According to the organization’s mission statement, “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’s housing initiatives, including its boarding and independent living programs, are the cornerstone of its services.

The nonprofit owns and operates two Class-C boarding homes — one in Red Bank and another in Asbury Park — where housing is available to single adults over the age of 18. More than just a place to stay, boarding homes feature on-site support staff 24 hours a day, offer residents three meals a day, supervise the self-administration of medication and provide other services.

HABcore’s Associate Director Katie Lord reported that the boarding program currently houses 51 individuals — 21 in Red Bank and 30 in Asbury Park.

“Generally, most of the individuals are coming to us because they have a special need,” she said.

Lord specified physical or mental disabilities, loss of employment, a history of substance abuse, domestic violence and people living on fixed incomes as “some of the main reasons people come to us.”

HABcore also offers an independent living program that helps provide families with affordable apartments throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties, with 27 families currently benefiting from it.

In addition to housing, HABcore assists with tenant-landlord mediation, crisis counseling, advocacy on individuals’ behalf and, as needed, development of social skills and other services.

“Every family or individual is completely different, so not one day is completely the same, but when you think about people coming from crisis to stability, the needs of the families vary, so we rise to the occasion,” Lord said.

The nonprofit works with the Division of Social Services, Mental Health Association, Community Affairs & Resource Center in Asbury Park, Affordable Housing Alliance, Interfaith Neighbors in Asbury Park and other organizations. It receives funding from government subsidies, private foundation grants and through fundraising efforts.

At a Red Bank Borough Council meeting on Aug. 24, Mayor Pasquale Menna presented HABcore’s Executive Director Steve Heisman with a check for $12,000 — a portion of the proceeds from the second annual Mayor’s Ball, which took place in May — and he thanked HABcore for its work in the community.

“A stronger community means stronger community members,” Lord said. “The reality is that, having a home is a basic human need, and for people to live in a safe, healthy environment creates a stronger community.”

For more information, visit HABcore’s website at www.habcore.org.

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