WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 27: U.S. military veterans set up 1,892 American flags on the National Mall March 27, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America installed the flags to represent the 1,892 veterans and service members who committed suicide this year as part of the "We've Got Your Back: IAVA's Campaign to Combat Suicide." (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)


TOMS RIVER— What started out as a $570,000 appropriation from the Ocean County Board of Commissioners to the anti-poverty agency OCEAN Inc. is now providing a roof over the heads of disabled veterans that have defended this Country.

“By using federal Housing and Urban Development HOME Investment Partnership Act funds, this Board was able to be part of a collaboration that has resulted in six affordable rental units specifically for our veterans with disabilities,” said Ocean County Commissioner Barbara Jo Crea who serves as liaison to the county’s HOME program in a press release. “This is the perfect outcome, this is what we always hope for.”

Construction began June 2019 on the six rental units on land donated by Pine Beach Borough. Along with the HOME funding, OCEAN Inc. secured a Community Services Block Grant and a mortgage to move the project forward.

“Ocean County has maintained a long standing partnership with OCEAN Inc.,” Crea said. “The agency has been a designated federal Community Housing Development Organization for more than 20 years.
“OCEAN Inc.’s work has resulted in the production of more than 153 permanent affordable rental units in Ocean County,” Crea said. “I applaud their work and their continuing dedication to helping the residents of Ocean County.”

OCEAN Inc. partnered with Soldier On, a private nonprofit organization committed to ending veteran homelessness, for the leasing of the units. Since 1994, the organization has been providing homeless veterans with transitional housing and supportive services.

Six project based Section 8 vouchers were provided through the state Department of Community Affairs for income eligible veterans who were qualified and approved by Soldier On for a unit.

“Ocean County has the largest veterans’ population in the state,” said Ocean County Commissioner Gary Quinn, who is liaison to the Ocean County Veterans Services Bureau. “We will continue to work with agencies and organizations to provide help to these very deserving men and women.”

“I am so pleased that all the units have been rented to low income veterans,” Crea said. “With strong partnerships, hard work and dedication these veterans are now in housing that they may not have been able to access before.”

Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners Joseph H. Vicari applauded all the agencies involved in bringing this project to fruition.

“Working together makes a real difference,” Vicari said. “For these veterans, the threat of homelessness no longer exists. They are safe and secure. They are home.”

Supportive services also are being provided to the tenants by Preferred Behavioral Health.