By: Kimberly Redmond
Morris County recently launched its new “Navigating Hope” mobile services vehicle, which will bring assistance-on-wheels to residents in need across the county’s 39 communities.
The new vehicle, which was unveiled on May 6 in Morristown, will offer on-site benefits eligibility screenings and application assistance, as well as link people to a number of other community services.
It’ll make regular stops at locations such as supermarkets, libraries, religious institutions, shopping centers, train stations and malls, according to the county.
“Navigating Hope is about social justice, dignity and respect. It will provide access to resources that our neighbors may not know exists, and will offer face-to-face support and engagement. It is also about community coming together to serve community,’’ said Family Promise Executive Director Joann Bjornson.
People will be able to apply for food stamps, Medicaid, general assistance, temporary assistance for needy families, utility assistance and housing assistance, or get referrals for EITC (tax credits), WIC (nutritional assistance), aging services, domestic violence services, veterans services, health and wellness services, legal services, mental health and transportation.
The unit, a Ford E350 Super Duty Cutaway, includes two separate interview areas where applicants can apply directly for benefits. The work stations include a computer and a multipurpose business machine that connects to the county’s Office of Temporary Assistance.
“Navigating Hope” is a partnership between non-profit organization Family Promise of Morris County and the Morris County Department of Human Services and is the county’s second mobile outreach initiative.
In April 2017, the county put its “Hope One” van on the road, which provides mental health and addiction services across Morris County.
Twice a week, the van, which is staffed by a Morris County Sheriff’s Office, licensed clinician and certified peer recovery specialist, brings services to people in need.
The team’s goal is to prevent drug overdoses and deaths by reaching out to those who need help, rather than waiting for them to show up in a hospital emergency room.
“Navigating Hope, along with Hope One, embraces the county’s Stigma-Free initiative, fostering assistance and treatment for county residents in need,’’ added Freeholder Kathy DiFillippo, liaison to the county’s Human Services agencies.
Over the last two years, “Hope One” has made 6,258 contacts with county residents in 252 stops, provided Narcan training to more than 1,700 residents, referred nearly 100 residents to mental health treatment or resources and sent 104 people to recovery or rehabilitation facilities, according to information provided by the county.
At times, Morris County Sheriff James Gannon said, “Navigating Hope” will work in tandem with “Hope One.”
“Together, the innovative Hope One and Navigating Hope mobile outreach programs will help people overcome substance use dependencies and issues that attach to addiction such as homelessness, lack of jobs and adequate nutrition,” “said Gannon.
“Hope One has had a major impact on dealing with addiction and mental health issues in Morris County,’’ said Deputy Freeholder Director Heather Darling. “Now, the county will expand on that great work with Navigating Hope and reach out even further.’’
For more information on scheduling and events, contact 973-626-2085 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call 211 for emergency assistance 24/7. To reach the Navigating Hope team during normal business hours, call 973-326-7800.