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A Letter To The Community

Dear Friends,

Ocean’s Harbor House has provided programming to at-risk youth for over three decades. We are proud of the work that we have done, and we are honored to have touched so many lives in such a positive way. As the needs of our community continue to evolve, the Board of Directors and Leadership of the agency have decided to shift our shelter program from a youth-focused temporary service to a family-focused program which will launch at our Windsor Ave. location some time in 2024. 

To that end, we announced the transition of our Emergency Youth Shelter program on July 10, 2023. All proper federal, state and local channels were informed. Press releases were distributed to appropriate media outlets and numerous personal calls and meetings were held with community partners. After the last three temporary youth residents of the Shelter completed their stay and were reunited with their families or discharged to appropriate facilities, we closed our doors on July 28th ahead of our July 31st deadline. 

Factors in this decision included dramatically increased costs to operate the shelter in its current model and an ever-decreasing pool of funding from federal, state, and local partners. Also, the shift in government policies toward congregate care for youth, and an enhanced focus on keeping children with their families, caused a marked decrease in requests to place unaccompanied youth in shelters throughout the region. 

Ultimately, our decision to modify our mission was made as the result of a fact-based needs assessment. In our findings, the number of teens and children served by shelters in the region dwindled while the need for families to find temporary housing has significantly increased. Due to the remnants of the pandemic and the current economic climate, many hard-working families are facing the possibility of homelessness as housing costs soar and inflation eats away at paycheck-to-paycheck budgets. The transition to serve families is an upstream approach to youth homelessness.

This upcoming transition, though necessary, has received some resistance and we would like to address this with you straight away. It has come to our attention that an individual has made allegations of poor planning against Ocean’s Harbor House regarding our transition. Additionally, it has been brought to our attention that there is a Go Fund Me page that is not authorized by Ocean’s Harbor House. Rest assured that Ocean’s Harbor House takes any such allegations very seriously, and our team is working to address the issue head-on, initiating a thorough investigation into this matter. 

Though we are shifting from the current model, our ongoing commitment to the youth of our region remains strong in the following ways.
  • We will leverage our deep relationships with facilities around the state to provide shelter for youth in need.
  • Our 24-hour crisis hotline will move forward with enhanced services designed to facilitate warm connections for youth in need.
  • Our 12-bed Transitional Living Program (TLP) for youth ages 16 - 22 will continue to be a beacon of hope to abandoned and runaway young people.
  • Our Healing Harbor Services unit will continue to provide services through our Family Crisis Intervention Unit.
  • We will also continue to provide free case management, family engagement and crisis counseling to youth and families in need.
  • We will continue to partner with school districts to provide outreach on a variety of topics including human trafficking, dating violence and sexual exploitation of children.
  • Lastly, we look forward to the spring of 2024 when we will be adding services that focus on homelessness prevention for youth and families.

We understand that we are more than just a service provider to so many and because of this we respect the inclination to remain as we are, but we know this would be a disservice to the community at large. We have always strived to provide services that are necessary to improve the lives of the members of our local population. This directive has not changed. 

Please visit our website for a list of current programming the agency continues to provide as part of our ongoing commitment to serve youth in crisis. Stay tuned as we embrace the needed changes our organization needs to make to address the new landscape for young people and their families. We invite you to join us as our mission expands. We simply cannot do it without you! 

We thank you so very much for your continued support and please know that if you have any questions, you are welcome to contact me directly at 609-992-3060 or email me at

Yours in community,                                         
Alice Woods,
Executive Director
News 12 New Jersey's

Ocean County shelter for runaway kids will reopen in 2024

News 12 New Jersey's

New changes coming to Ocean’s Harbor House shelter as it shifts focus to families

NJ Spotlight News

Emergency youth shelter closes in Ocean County


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