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For Immediate Release:
February 11, 2009

For Information, Contact:
Ellen Lovejoy, (609) 292-3703

Appointee to lead services for people with mental illnesses, addictions, hearing and vision loss
TRENTON - DHS Commissioner Jennifer Velez today announced Kevin Martone as Deputy Commissioner responsible for the Divisions of Mental Health Services (DMHS), Addiction Services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The position was made vacant with the recent retirement of James (Jim) W. Smith.
Prior to this appointment, Martone had been Assistant Commissioner of DMHS since 2005. During his tenure, he has been instrumental in transforming the Division by improving and expanding programs that help people throughout the state recover from mental illness.

Deputy Division Director Jon Poag will assume the role of Acting Assistant Commissioner of DMHS. Jon brings extensive experience to the position having been with DMHS for 22 years in a wide range of functions.  These included Regional Coordinator and Regional Director of the Bureau of Transitional Services, and as a Social Work Supervisor at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital .

“Kevin has shown his management grit shepherding reform in the state's psychiatric hospitals to focus on recovery-oriented services,” said Velez. “He is a compassionate, determined and results-driven leader.”

“I'm honored,” said Martone. “I welcome the challenge to broaden my scope of service to the department and New Jersey ; especially as our programs and services become more vital in these grim economic times.”

Kevin also served as President/CEO for Advance Housing, a non-profit supportive housing provider in northern New Jersey . Since the agency's opening in 1997, Kevin guided its transformation into a leading supportive housing provider in a short period of time. His experiences at Advance Housing afforded him a strong clinical background and an ability to influence complex systems that impact human services consumers. He has broad experience serving on multiple local, county and statewide committees pertaining to mental health and affordable housing, and has spoken extensively in New Jersey on supportive housing development and operations.

In addition, Kevin was the Vice President of the Supportive Housing Association (SHA) of New Jersey where he played a key role in advancing the policy direction of SHA with both the State and provider community. He provided training and guidance for the association on supportive housing development and service delivery through various training series and conferences facilitated by SHA.

In 2005, Kevin served on Governor Codey's Task Force on Mental Health which issued a report for improving New Jersey's mental health system. Kevin acted as the Housing Advisory Committee Chairperson for the Task Force which made numerous recommendations on housing, including the creation of 10,000 affordable housing opportunities for people with mental illness and other disabilities over the next ten years, as well as, the newly created $200 million Special Needs Housing Trust Fund.

Kevin is a Licensed Social Worker and has a Master of Social Work degree from Rutgers University . He resides in Pennington with his wife and two daughters.

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