RWJUH Somerset expands Healing Homes initiative

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Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Somerset, an RWJBarnabas healthcare facility, is now accepting applications for its Healing Homes initiative which provides transitional housing for individuals or families in Somerset County who have an illness that has caused financial difficulties and who cannot afford housing.

As part of RWJBarnabas Health’s social impact and community investment initiative, the hospital launched Healing Homes in 2019 with a home in Somerville and helped a family move into permanent housing in 2021. A second house in Somerville is currently being renovated by the hospital for Healing Homes and will be available in the spring. The application deadline is February 25.

“We recognize that there are many social and economic factors that contribute to an individual’s overall health outcomes, including having a place to live,” said Tony Cava, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset. “Healing Homes is helping to address a critical need in our community as many of our neighbors who have an illness may face financial hardship during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including needing housing.

With the help of a dedicated case manager, Healing Homes gives an individual or family the opportunity to learn how to manage their finances, take care of their health and become more independent. The Case Manager will direct Healing Home participants to resources designed to help them with their individually identified health issues as well as community resources that provide support for basic needs such as employment, transportation, social services and permanent housing.

The hospital’s two Healing Homes are two-bedroom ranches. One house is handicapped accessible. Each house is available for a single individual or a single family of up to four people.

To be considered for healing homes, participants must meet specific criteria, such as: having an illness that has caused financial hardship and renders them unable to afford housing and/or basic living costs ; have limited access to health care; are employed with a steady income but earn below New Jersey Housing and Urban Development (HUD) income guidelines. In addition, participants in healing homes must demonstrate a willingness to achieve the objectives identified by the case manager in their individual progress plan to improve their situation.

Preference will be given to residents of towns identified in the Hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment that have a median household income below the Somerset County average (Bound Brook, South Bound Brook, North Plainfield, Somerset, Franklin and Manville).

“Our goal is to help Healing Homes participants learn to manage both their finances and their health and ultimately become more self-sufficient,” said Serena Collado, director of the community health department at RWJUH Somerset, who oversees the Healing Homes. “With the addition of a second Healing Home, we are excited to extend this opportunity to an additional person or family as part of our overall efforts to improve the health of our community.”

RWJUH Somerset’s Healing Homes Initiative is guided by a committee that includes representatives from the following organizations: Affinity Federal Credit Union, Bonnie Brae, Central Jersey Housing Resource Center, Pioneer Family Success Center, Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board, Habitat for Humanity, Safe and Sound, Somerset County Board of Social Services, Somerset County Community Development, Somerset County Health Department and Housing Authority, Somerset County Human Services, United Way’s Alice Project of Northern New Jersey, and Zarephath Christian Church.

For more information about Healing Homes and an application, please visit www.rwjbh.org/somersethealinghomes or call the RWJUH Somerset Community Health Department at (908) 685-2814.


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