Union County, NJ — The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that Union County will observe May 2018 as National Community Action Month. Community Action Month is dedicated to recognizing the success of the national Community Action Network that fights poverty across the United States.
“In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act which included the creation of Community Action Agencies to fight poverty,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “Today we continue to honor and build on President Johnson’s legacy of recognizing that we must enlist the whole community and every public office, from the courthouse to the White House, to ensure that resources and opportunities are available to those in need.”
Currently there are approximately 1,100 Community Action Agencies covering 99% of America’s counties in suburban, rural, and urban communities. It is estimated that each year, these agencies help 20 million low-income people to achieve economic stability and improve their lives despite budget cuts and increased demands for services during challenging economic times.
“Even though our overall economy is strong, the face of poverty can be hidden in any community,” said Chairman Granados. “By recognizing Community Action Month, we build awareness that the struggle for employment, housing, nutrition and other basic needs goes on.”
Community Action Agencies promote self-sufficiency for those of limited income and help ensure that all residents are able to live in dignity. Community Action Agencies implement programs to improve the lives and living conditions of the impoverished, provide support and instruction for those in need of assistance, and advocate for reform of welfare systems.
During National Community Action Month, agencies throughout Union County and nationally host events that highlight how these programs and services help low-income residents achieve economic self-sufficiency.
“Despite experiencing budget cuts, shrinking resources, and increased demands for services, Union County Community Action Agencies have achieved measurable success in assisting Union County residents to achieve and maintain economic security,” said Chairman Granados.
The Union County Department of Human Services partners with other community based agencies to assist residents. In 2017, these agencies provided resources for 559 residents whose income did not exceed 125% of the Federal Poverty Guideline.
The services included assistance with housing, medical and nutritional needs, emergency shelter, employment including connections with entitlement and workforce development programs, and behavioral health counseling for substance abuse and/or mental health.
In recognition of Community Action Month, several local agencies are highlighting events in Elizabeth during May. Jewish Family Services of Central New Jersey hosted a Senior Safety Day at the Peterstown Community Center, The Gateway Family YMCA held a Housing Department open house, and the organization PROCEED, Inc. held a Community Open House for job readiness with a focus on women at the Kellogg Family Success Center.
On May 11, The Salvation Army of Elizabeth hosts a “Lunch on the Go” event from noon to 2:00 pm at their facility located at 1018 East Grand Street.
Upcoming events include two more Senior Safety Days hosted by Jewish Family Services. One takes place on May 15 at the O’Donnell Dempsey Senior Center at 632 Salem Avenue, and the other takes place on May 24 at the Elizabeth Public Library – Elmora Branch located at 740 West Grand Street. Both events are from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
For more information about May events and services for low income individuals and families, contact Samantha Carpio, Union County Department of Human Services, Division of Planning, 908-527-4874.
For more information about the Union County Department of Human Services including Paratransit and Meals on Wheels for seniors visit online at ucnj.org.
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