Salt & Light To Educate Homeless

Posted: December 02, 1990

To the Rev. Kent Pipes of Mount Holly's Salt & Light Co., a housing group for the homeless, the scenario is familiar: A landlord illegally turns off the heat or gas in an apartment and the family moves out. Sometimes, they wind up on the street.

"Some people get evicted because they don't know their rights," says Pipes, the project developer and administrator for Salt & Light. The solution, Pipes says, is to educate people about their rights and help them manage their finances better.

To help provide this education, Salt & Light recently received two grants, totaling $11,500, that will be used to provide legal and financial counseling for people who are homeless or on the brink of homelessness.

One grant, $7,500 from the Bar Association of New Jersey, was awarded to

Salt & Light for providing community education to prevent homelessness and provide financial counseling.

The second grant, $4,000 from the Black United Fund of New Jersey, will be used for the same purposes, but for residents who already participate in Salt & Light's homeless program.

For Salt & Light, the counseling will focus on legal advice for tenants, credit resolution, and managing a personal budget.

For example, Pipes says that many of the people in his program need to learn how to buy and prepare food, instead of eating the more expensive prepared meals or ordering out from a restaurant.

"You'd be surprised," Pipes said. "A lot of people don't know that."

The grant money is the first of its kind for Salt & Light, but Pipes says that it will complement Salt & Light's housing programs that help people stay off the streets.

"Our goal is to prevent 10 times the amount of cost" that would result if a person or family otherwise became homeless, he said.

Three locations in Burlington County will provide the education: Pemberton Township, Mount Holly and one that will be determined in a town along the river between Burlington and Riverside.

Although the money will not be used to pay a teacher, it will be used for the cost of administration and advertising. Salt & Light hopes to draw on the knowledge of consumer advocates and professionals to provide some of the counseling.

The first $1,000 came in from the Black United Fund two weeks ago. The remaining money will come in $1,000 installments every three months. The program, including the Bar Association money, is scheduled to start in January.

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