Bergen County Homeless Family Services
HEARTS – Housing, Emergency Shelter, Advocacy Resources, and Tools for Self-Sufficiency

hearts logo

OUR VISION is through the provision of the HEARTS program services the County of Bergen will end homelessness for ALL Bergen County families.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to assist Bergen County families who are experiencing a homeless emergency find and transition to a healthy, safe, and secure living environment while they build on their family’s strengths and develop the skills to overcome their family’s unique challenges in order to live independently in the community.  We accomplish our mission by partnering with homeless families and community service providers in intense case management activities while engaging in advocacy efforts and leveraging interagency resources across Bergen County.   We ultimately seek to rapidly transition families from a state of homelessness to a state of housing permanency and self-sufficiency.

Services

  1. Coordinated Entry for All Homeless Families

    Serves as the single stop center for any Bergen County family with children under the age of 18 experiencing homelessness or at risk of facing homelessness within two weeks.   Homeless Families are welcome to set up an interview to meet with the HEARTS Coordinated Assessment Intake Specialist to review their needs: housing, emergency shelter, access to financial and government resources, food benefits, legal support, childcare support, domestic violence, or supports for substance abuse, mental health, or medical issues.  After evaluation, will be connected to appropriate financial government resources if eligible and recommended for appropriate level of case management support either from the HEARTS program or a specific community-based agency to assist their path to self-sufficiency.

  2. Temporary Emergency Shelter

    Serves any Bergen County family with children under the age of 18 who are presently street homeless or imminently homeless meaning about to lose their housing within two weeks – given the availability of HEARTS shelter beds.  There is a 10 Unit Maximum Capacity for emergency shelter.  May present as walk in’s but please note given COVID-19 protocols, will need to call ahead.  Also, if families arrive to HEARTS after 2PM then the family will be redirected to the 211 hotline for a temporary motel placement until they can return in the morning to complete the mandatory intake assessment and bed bug protocol.   Please see Admission Policy for Emergency Shelter.  If you are a community-based agency seeking to make a referral on behalf of a family for emergency shelter, please see the link to the form below.

    Admission Policy (pdf)
  3. BRIDGE Housing for TANF-Only Families

    Serves any Bergen County family with children under the age of 18 that are recipients of TANF.  Will be provided temporary housing not to exceed one year under the conditions that the participating family agrees to and actively engages in the intensive case management services and Housing Permanency Plan with the HEARTS Case Management Team. Focus will be on seeking higher education, finding employment, improving financial management, and seeking help for medical or personal barriers to self-sufficiency.  TANF Bridge Housing Participants are expected to contribute their required 30% of income each month as a form of rent to the County of Bergen as required by TANF Emergency Assistance regulations.

Hours of Operation

Monday through Friday 8AM to 4:45PM (2PM Cutoff for Emergency Shelter Same Day Placements)

Walk-ins Welcome – **PLEASE NOTE: Due to COVID-19 safety protocols we ask that you call ahead (201)-488-2525 to make an appointment and do not show up without an appointment.  You do not need to have a referral in order to meet with the Coordinated Assessment Intake Specialist, but must meet the definition of at risk or imminently homeless. 

After Hours/Weekends:   Please Call 211: Bergen County’s Homeless Hotline

**Families experiencing a homeless emergency after hours or on weekends are directed to call the Bergen County Homeless Hotline (211) for a temporary motel Homeless Hotline placement.  These families will be instructed to present at the HEARTS Office at 8:45AM the first business day for screening, assessment, and intake. **

REFERRAL FORM for COMMUNITY AGENCIES

Please use this form to submit a referral for Emergency Shelter.   Email or scan the form to hearts@bcbss.com or Fax to 201-368-4789.

Community Agency Referral Form (pdf)

Contact Us

HEARTS Program Main Line:  201-488-2525

HEARTS Address: 40 Passaic Street, Hackensack NJ 07601

HEARTS TEAM:

Sonia Aufiero, Supervisor:                             saufiero@bcbss.com, 201-488-2525 EXT 7508

Janice Reid, Case Manager:                            jreid@bcbss.com, 201-488-2525 EXT 7507

Brendaly Sanchez, Intake Specialist:              bsanchez@bcbss.com, 201-488-2525 EXT 7506

Rocco Mazza, HEARTS Housing Specialist:      RMazza@co.bergen.nj.us, 201-488-2525 EXT 7509

Contact Us

 Bergen County Department of Human Services

One Bergen County Plaza  • 2nd Floor • Hackensack, NJ 07601-7076

Phone: 201-336-7474 • Fax: 201-336-7450

Hours: 8:30 am - 8:30 pm (varies by division)