Sunday, February 25, 2024


County Youth Shelter Operation May Be Decided Nov. 24


By Al Campbell

CREST HAVEN — Operation of the Cape May County Youth Shelter may be awarded to a Camden-based organization, but the shelter would remain here. A decision will likely be made Nov. 24 at the 4:30 p.m. freeholders meeting, 4 Moore Road.
Proposals were received Nov. 13, and it appears, based on “competitive evaluation results from the five evaluators within the county, the administration and Operation of a Youth Shelter for the County of Cape May should be awarded to Center for Family Services,” according to a 48-hour notice from Kim Allen, purchasing agent for the county.
Center for Family Services is based in Camden, but the “proposal demonstrates a clear understanding of meeting the needs of the Cape May County youth and keeping the youth in Cape May County at a substantial cost savings for the county,” Allen wrote in a Nov. 20 document to County Administrator Stephen O’Connor.
Five firms submitted proposals to operate the facility as a five-bed shelter. It is presently a 12-bed facility. It’s annual operational budget is about $1.1 million.
Allen wrote the following responses were received for proposals:
VisionQuest: Non-responsive due to not providing a N.J. business Registration Certificate. Failure to provide the certificate is non-waivable and is therefore rejected.
National Mentor: Non-responsive due to not providing a N.J. Business Registration Certificate. Failure to provide the certificate is non-waivable and is therefore rejected.
Community Solutions, provided a proposal for Program 1 at an annual first year cost of $789,711 and second year at $809,454. Their proposal contained all requested documents. Although the agency has some shelter experience in Connecticut, it has not operated a shelter in the State of New Jersey, and its N.J. contracts for youth are focused on outpatient counseling. In addition, there is no demonstrated knowledge of the N.J. Family Court system and its interface with a youth shelter facility. Even though they quoted the county preferred option, their cost is substantially high and not within county budget.
Center for Family Services: Provided a proposal for Program 1, (the preferred county program) at an annual first year cost of $340,000 and second year at $32,000. Their proposal contains all requested documents and they demonstrated an understanding of the operation and administration of the Youth Shelter and their ability to perform and meet specification. They have decades of experience in operating youth shelters. References are excellent and currently have contracts with Camden and Gloucester counties.
Ranch Hope: Provided a proposal for Program 3 at an annual first year cost at $398,872 and second year cost of $412,939. Their proposal contains all requested documents. Ranch Hope has an excellent reputation for caring for kids in crisis. They, comparatively recently, branches into the Shelter for Hope. While they provided services contained on Page 5 of the RFP are thorough and extensive, the agency provided a Proposal for Program 3. This would require Cape May County youth to be transported over two counties away. This would create a huge obstacle in the ability of Cape May County youth to receive needed services at such a distance. Moreover, parents may have huge difficulties traveling to neede counseling session. Although there is a cost savings, Program 3 is not a viable solution when other agencies are available.
The following were proposals as received from potential operators:
Option 1, operate a five-bed facility at 151 Crest Haven Road (presently 12 beds with an annual budget of $1.1 million.).
Community Solutions, Windsor, Conn., first year, $789,711.
Center for Family Services, Camden, first year, $340,000.
Vision Quest, Downingtown, Pa., first year, $438,000.
Option 2, operate a home shelter using area homes, National Mentor Healthcare, Somerset, first year,$301,000.
Option 3, provide beds at different shelter.
Ranch Hope, Alloway, first year, $398,000.

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