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RISMEDIA, August 25, 2014–As the cost of living in N.J. rises, the need for resources that supplement the cost of life’s basic necessities also increases.  REALTORS® work in the local community every day, and understand the immense cost of living in Bergen County for some residents. The Eastern Bergen County Board of REALTORS® (EBCBOR) Community Service Committee recently joined with Bergen Family Promise to host the third annual “Dinner with REALTORS®”, as part of  the “Walk-In Dinner Service” program,  providing meals to more than 150 Bergen County residents in need.

“A report completed earlier this year indicated there were at least 369 homeless people living in Bergen County,” said Community Service Committee Chair Miriam Lambert. She continued: “REALTORS® do more than sell houses, our Association gathers REALTORS® from all brokerages and towns who seek to help our residents who need support and financial assistance to enjoy life in Bergen County. The Dinner with REALTORS® is an effective way for our members to directly help those residents most in need of aid.”

Bergen County’s new “housing first” strategy has been helpful in decreases the percentage of homeless living in local communities. Twenty percent of the County’s housing vouchers are reserved for the homeless living at the shelter of the Bergen County Health and Human Services Center. However, due to the County’s overall high living cost, many residents still seek programs to assist them in their financial need.  Many food pantries experience food shortages in the summer months due to decreases in donations. EBCBOR sought to fill this increased need and provide assistance to Bergen County residents who rely on food pantries or other like services. With the support of N.J. Lenders, Rick Sirianni of Eagle Home Mortgage, Andy Zeigher of Burt P. Augustensen, Karina Gorfin, Esq, Nancy Miller Esq., and Frank Atechson Esq. the event provided relief to more than 100 residents.

Bergen Family Promise has played a pivotal role in serving thousands of Bergen County’s most vulnerable citizens – homeless, hungry, and needy families and individuals since 1986 by providing programs including the Walk-In Dinner Service, New Leaf Transitional Housing Program, and the Bergen Promise Network (shelter program) and many others.

Bergen Family Promise Director of Volunteers, Margo Heller said, “More than half of the people who engage in the nightly dinner program are current residents of the Hackensack shelter or come from neighboring communities of Englewood and Teaneck.”  She continued: “Although many of the guests have a place to live, their limited incomes don’t stretch to cover dinner every night.”

The Eastern Bergen County Board of REALTORS® (EBCBOR), chartered in 1923, is a not-for-profit trade organization that serves more than 3,000 REALTOR® members in Bergen County, N.J. EBCBOR is dedicated to enhancing the business opportunities of its membership by providing them with industry information, political advocacy and education opportunities. For more information, please visit www.bergenboard.com.

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