Press Release

For Immediate Release: November 30, 2021

Union County to Hold First Fresh Start Mobile Shower and Laundry Service on December 1

Residents in need will have access to showers, laundry services and information regarding social service support programs offered throughout Union County.

Union County, NJ – Union County will officially launch the Fresh Start mobile program with the first event to be held on Wednesday, December 1, in Elizabeth from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This new County-based program is the first of its kind in New Jersey and will provide shower, laundry and restroom facilities to persons who are in need, along with guidance and resources on additional services that foster self-sufficiency.

The inaugural event will be hosted by community partner, St. Joseph Social Service Center, located at 118 Division Street in Elizabeth. The event will begin at 11:00 a.m.

“The mobile Fresh Start program brings these essential services to those most in need in the community,” said Commissioner Board Chairman Alexander Mirabella, who announced this initiative late last month. “The Board of County Commissioners is proud to offer this service to our most vulnerable residents.”

“We anticipate that the Fresh Start program will make a significant difference. Fresh Start will enable us to reach out to vulnerable residents, providing them with access to additional resources and services,” said Union County Department of Human Services Director Debbie-Ann Anderson.

“The Fresh Start program brings essential resources to individuals in their communities, making it easier to access a wide array of assistance,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados, who is the Commissioner Board’s Liaison to the Union County Human Services Advisory Council. “Union County thanks all of our community partners that have connected with us to ensure the success of this critical resource for our community. We also thank Moving New Jersey Forward Foundation for their generous contribution this event.”

The County of Union Department of Human Services has partnered with the Moving New Jersey Forward Foundation (https://bit.ly/3E66KEs) for this inaugural event to provide guests of the Fresh Start program attending on December 1 with essential items such as socks and underwear.

The Fresh Start program is part of Chairman Mirabella’s “Union County Rising” initiatives for 2021, aimed at maximizing countywide resources for response to the COVID-19 pandemic while addressing emerging needs in the areas of fiscal planning, public safety, education, economic development, opportunity, inclusion, and diversity in addition to human services.

The centerpiece of Fresh Start is a mobile trailer equipped with bathroom and shower units as well as laundry facilities. It is operated and maintained in accordance with standards for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The Fresh Start trailer serves as a portal and contact platform for a continuum of resources leading to self-sufficiency, including emergency shelter and clothing. Access to ongoing resources including but not limited to mental health services, housing, and employment assistance will be available.

The trailer can also provide essential services to Union County residents who are displaced by natural disasters and other emergencies, in addition to providing services to those in financial need.

This kick-off event for the Fresh Start program is a coordination of a wide variety of resources among public and non-profit organizations, such as Union County Department of Human Services, St. Joseph’s Social Service Center, Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, and PROCEED, Inc.

Guests are encouraged to arrive early to secure a time slot.  Guests are welcome to wait or come back later after they register. In addition, those wishing to use the services offered by the Fresh Start mobile program should note:

  • Access to the bathroom for use of the shower is limited to a 20-minute duration per guest. It is cleaned after every use. Guests will be informed by a knock on the door when they have 5-minutes remaining.
  • Guests will be provided with soap, hot water, and a clean towel.
  • Shower and/or laundry capacity is limited so the program is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Laundry services will be provided for additional clothing that guests bring with them. Guests should be sure to empty pockets prior to turning clothing in for laundry services.

The Fresh Start trailer will visit locations throughout Union County based on request. Agencies and organizations that are interested can send a request via email to freshstart@ucnj.org.

Additional details are available through the Union County Department of Human Services at https://ucnj.org/dhs/fresh-startFor more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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