The Cost Of Homelessness in Cape May County

The Cost Of Homelessness in Cape May County

A married couple in their forties, both with debilitating medical issues, fight for their lives in Cape May County where the average household income is $60,000.

By David Todd McCarty | Friday, February 14, 2020

I want you to imagine for a minute that you’re a married couple in your forties who have been living in your car for the last eight months. Not a weekend camping trip. Not a few weeks. Eight long months.

There was a time when you owned your own home and were productive members of society. You had regular jobs and normal lives. But then a series of serious health issues took their toll and with no safety net in America, the next thing you knew, you were homeless. That’s how it happens most often. One day you’re a normal American, and the next thing you know, you don’t have a bathroom.

Let’s say you’re the man, and you are on disability due to a degenerative bone disease, and your wife has lupus and suffers from severe depression. You get a small stipend for disability and she’s been waiting since 2016 to be approved but has so far gotten no assistance.

Living in your car is not only inconvenient, uncomfortable and not conducive to long-term illness, but is illegal and subject to fines and imprisonment. Nothing like a little stress to add to your daily nightmare.

Social Services can’t help, because your issues are long-term. You are not eligible for emergency assistance and while you do get some money from disability, most of your income is eaten up by expenses related to your medical issues. You have applied for subsidized housing in several counties—the one in Williamstown having the shortest waiting list which is 4 months—but you have nothing so far.

With nowhere else to turn, The Branches in Rio Grande places you in a motel last week and will pay for a second week, starting tomorrow. The cost is $250 a week for a room for you. Imagine that. $1,000 a month to live in a shady motel with zero services. It’s true that the cost could be reduced if you could afford to pay by the month which would still be $175 a week, or $700 a month. This is America.

This isn’t a hypothetical, but the real life situation for Dave and Jane (not their real names). Cape May County has no shelter of any kind, no services available to them, and nothing to offer them in terms of hope. 

This is not the sort of thing that should be shouldered by private individuals, but since the Republican controlled Board of Freeholders in Cape May County refuses to lend a hand, or even acknowledge the problem, this is where we stand. So as concerned citizens of Cape May County, and as humans beings living on this planet, we ask that you consider helping out in two ways on this Valentine’s Day:

  1. Provide short-term housing for this couple. They are responsible, caring adults who deserve a break.
  2. Donate money to help pay for their temporary housing until they can find permanent housing.

To donate go to Branches. To contact them with information about housing contact [email protected] | You may also donate at Facebook If possible, email Branches and tell them your donation is for “Dave and Jane.” Send checks to:

Dave and Jane Fund
1304 Rt. 47, Unit AH
Rio Grande, NJ 08242

If you have questions you can reach out to [email protected] or [email protected]. You can follow David Todd McCarty @davidtmccarty

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