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Helping Atlantic City’s Homeless [AUDIO/VIDEO]

For years Atlantic City has struggled with an extraordinarily large homeless population, but a new program is helping to turn things around.

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(David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ)
NJ Gov. Chris Christie discusses the Single Point of Entry program, meant to help Atlantic City’s homeless.

Earlier this year, the Single Point of Entry program was launched, thanks to a $1.9 million state grant. It coordinates a number of services including food, clothing, shelter, substance abuse and mental health training, as well as employment assistance.

Gov. Chris Christie believes this type of one-stop shopping makes a lot of sense.

During a news conference in Atlantic City, he said when many social service organizations work together in a coordinated way, it benefits those in need.

“What we’re doing is really making the lives of those people who are at risk easier,” Christie said. “When individuals become homeless it should be about us taking the responsibility to give them that hand up, at the moment that they really need it.”

The governor said many factors that drive someone to become homeless are disease-based, so those affected need to get treatment to solve the problem.

In the end, what this is really about is about helping people who need the help as quickly and as easily as we possibly can,” Christie said. “For those who fall on difficult times, we need to be there for those folks most especially.”

Christie also said that thanks to this program, he’s already heard many stories of lives that have been saved or changed in a way that’s been significant and will be significant for years to come.

“This is the type of program that should be going on throughout the state of New Jersey, to help more and more people and use our resources wisely,” the governor said. “The primary point is to make sure that we try to change some lives. We won’t help everyone, we never can, but every life that we change is an individual miracle. To be able to have that bridge that gets them over really difficult times — don’t underestimate how miraculous that is in that person’s life.”

Christie added when individuals enter the Single Point of Entry program, “many of them are not only homeless but they’re hopeless. Our job is not only to get them a home, but is to restore their hope.”

Watch video from Christie’s Single Point of Entry press conference Tuesday:

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