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First Healing Home Completed

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Somerset, an RWJBarnabas Health facility,recently held a ribbon cutting for the first home to be completed as part of its Healing Homes Social Impact and Community Investment Initiative. The renovated two-bedroom ranch home, located across the street from the hospital, will provide housing for 18-24 months for an individual or individual family in Somerset County who has a chronic or acute health condition that causes financial hardship and leaves them unable to afford housing and/or the basic cost of living. With the help of an assigned case manager, Healing Homes gives an individual or family the opportunity to learn to manage their finances, take care of their health and become successfully independent.

“It is our mission to serve the people of our community beyond the walls of our hospital and to address the social factors that affect health outcomes,” said Tony Cava, President and Chief Executive Officer, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset. “Healing Homes will allow us to provide sustainable solutions for our neighbors who encounter both economic and health challenges and are in need of a healthy and safe environment in which to live.”

Healing Homes is a transitional housing initiative. It allows an individual who is approved to participate to occupy a RWJUH Somerset-owned residential home with his/her immediate family for the duration of their participation in the initiative, not to exceed 24 months. To be approved, an individual must complete an application and be selected for participation.

A case manager will work with the family to assess their clinical and social service needs, and provide ongoing training and support including assistance with transportation, financial counseling, mental health services and permanent housing.

“Research demonstrates that those with safe, affordable and stable housing have improved clinical and mental health outcomes; reduced stress; improved educational and professional attainment; and reduced incidence of food insecurity,” said Michellene Davis, Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, RWJBarnabas Health. “As a continuation of the system’s efforts to provide safe and affordable housing for those in need, this initiative will provide the participants with the support and resources they need to become self-sufficient.”

RWJUH Somerset launched Healing Homes with assistance and guidance from the newly formed Healing Homes committee, which includes representatives from the following organizations: Habitat for Humanity, Samaritan Homeless Interim Program (SHIP), Somerset County Department of Health, EmPoWER Somerset, Interfaith Hospitality Network of Somerset County, Somerset County Department of Human Services, United Way, Somerset County Community Development, Somerset County Social Services, United Reform Church of Somerville, the Central Jersey Housing Resource Center and Affinity Credit Union.

The new home is completely furnished thanks to the generosity of Flemington Department Store who supplied the furniture, Barry’s Appliances who donated appliances, York Fence Company for donating funds for the fence, the Fiorilli family who donated home decor and houseware items and Acme Drapemaster of America for donating the window treatments. In addition, Bellari donated the finish for the garage floor. Affinity Credit Union and Central Jersey Resource Housing Center have offered match programs to help the family to save money to become financially independent.

The second home part of the Healing Homes initiative will begin renovation later this year. For more information about Healing Homes please visit www.rwjbh.org/somerset healinghomes or call RWJUH Somerset’s Community Health Department at (908) 685-2814.