Homefront was started in the Spring of 1990 by Founder and CEO, Connie Mercer, after she received was given a tour of areas in Mercer County that illustrated the rising risk of homelessness in the area.

She decided to do something about it with the launch of the charity, who's mission remains to end homeless in Central New Jersey by harnessing the caring, resources, and expertise of the community.

  • Tell us What's So Great About The Garden State using the form at the end of this story.

"We deal with families when they are at the worst point of crisis," Mercer explains.

The charity provides short-term help for families in need with things like food and emergency shelter, while offering long-term help with work programs and financial counseling. It is all part of the overall goal of getting these families back on solid ground, and preventing homelessness.

"We want as quickly as possible to move our families from dependency to being part of the mainstream, being tax-paying citizens," Mercer said.

The charity helped around 7500 families in 2011, while dealing with the crunch that many organizations face of increased demand and shrinking funding. Homefront saw a 19% increase last year in the people seeking their help, coupled with a 9% slashing of government funding.

"We hear that recession is over," Mercer said, "That's not what we see coming into our door."

Homefront is funded by the combination of local, state, and federal money, along with the generous donation and support of the community.

Among the latest initiatives that they are optimistic about is the availability of 100 units of service enriched housing that provides support services, as well.

Homefront provides all their services, and looks to secure funding from wherever they can get it with the never wavering goal in mind of preventing and ending homelessness in Central New Jersey.

"You don't become a Homefront family unless the rest of the world has turned their back on you," Mercer said.

Mercer explained that the ultimate payout for herself and those who work with the charity is seeing these families bounce back, and get back on steady ground.

"I am always in awe of the resiliency of our clients, and totally humbled by how grateful they are," she said.

More Good News

New Jersey American Water- Camden

Thanks to a donation from New Jersey American Water, the nation's first urban, single-family home development to be labeled an EPA WaterSense community, will be established in Camden. A portion of the company's $750,000 donation will be used to install WaterSense plumping fixtures, washers, dryers, and smart water meters designed to help home owners conserve water, monitor water usage and save money on water bills. Construction on the new homes is expected to start this spring.

Lily Suplee - Bridgewater

Seventeen year old Bridgewater resident Lily Suplee has raised nearly $1,500 for a local family in need by selling silicon bracelets she designed. She's sold the bracelets to fellow students at Bridgewater-Raritan High School, family and friends. The money will be giving to a friend of Suplee's whose father recently had a stroke and is out of work.