Unity Place of Monmouth has clients who are homeless enter the program throughout the year, but it comes as no surprise that colder weather brings an increase of these clients (there are currently seven homeless individuals at Unity). As the chill increases, the beach or under the boardwalk no longer provide sufficient protection from the elements.
Many of these homeless Unity Place sees have exhausted their options with social services or have been deemed to have caused their own homelessness. Some have legal charges that make them ineligible for housing.
It should come as no surprise that people with mental illness often make poor choices. They are then blamed for making decisions that have brought about their homelessness. This is unfortunate and in many cases, is unbelievable. Of course people with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia will make poor decisions; it is a byproduct of their illness. While it is certainly difficult to serve this population, this comes with the territory of providing services to people with a mental disorder.
In some cases, these individuals have been deemed to have caused their own homelessness because they refused to be placed in housing in drug-infested areas that included boarding homes where drug dealing was known to occur. This refusal to live in an area where drugs are rampant makes perfect sense to anyone who understands addiction and the threat to one’s recovery posed by living in an area rife with drugs. One of our ex-clients was clean and sober for a good period of time now walks the streets in Red Bank rather than be placed in a drug area.
Homelessness is a more prevalent issue than our officials report. A review of the regulations needs to be done and the mentally ill need more help.