North Bergen Housing Authority Executive Director Gerald Sanzari discussed a recent initiative the agency took up with CarePoint Health to educate seniors, as well as shedding some light on how people can obtain residency at the housing authority.
By Katherine Guest/Hudson County View
“It was actually CarePoint that reached out to us. They said they had been trying for years to develop a program they could gear towards our senior population to tell them about some of the courses they offer, that would be for their benefit,” Sanzari, a former North Bergen deputy police chief, told Hudson County View.
In a joint event between the NBHA and CarePoint Health, an “Eat and Learn” event was presented to seniors at the Lawlor Towers Community Room, located at 6121-6131 Grand Ave., on Tuesday. The event focused on being aware of health symptoms that could signal a life-threatening event.
Sanzari added that this will be part of an ongoing trend of healthcare providers giving free seminars – which are also bi-lingual – to seniors, noting that members of the public that live outside of the housing authority are still welcome to attend.
“The seniors are actually thirsting for information and we’re happy to provide it for them.”
Speaking about the 1,000-unit housing authority complex, which is reserved for low-income families, Sanzari admitted that “unfortunately, like any other city, there’s not enough housing for the amount of people that need it.”
However, he noted that Section 8 vouchers are available in North Bergen: a voucher which pays a portion of their rent. If a resident’s income-based standards are met, or if extenuating circumstances exist – such as domestic violence issues, being homeless or disabled – preferences would allow those individuals to receive priority.
“It’s not necessarily first come, first served. The preferences equate into that … but it’s all followed by HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) regulations,” reiterating that only residents are eligible to live in the North Bergen Housing Authority.
Officials also stated that the current wait for North Bergen housing can take up to a year, but all the aforementioned circumstances make it difficult to put an average timetable on how long the process takes per person.
Chief News Correspondent John Heinis contributed to this report.