Earlier this week, Union County Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams, Commissioners Sergio Granados and Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded kicked off the 2022 season of the Fresh Start Program at The Salvation Army in Elizabeth, located at 1005 East Jersey Street. This program provides shower, laundry and restroom facilities to persons who are in need, along with guidance and resources on additional services that foster self-sufficiency.
“At the time of the launch in 2021, this program was the first mobile service of its kind to be offered in New Jersey,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams. “There are many people who have fallen on hard times and don’t always have access to a hot shower or hygiene supplies, which can be detrimental to their self-confidence. This mobile unit not only provides them with access to these amenities, but can also make a positive impact on their overall wellbeing, bringing a sense of joy and self-esteem.”
The main focus of Fresh Start is a mobile trailer equipped with bathroom and shower units as well as laundry facilities. It has three non-gender specific shower and bathroom units, one of which is ADA compliant as well as two washing and dryer machines.
“Access to laundry and shower facilities on a regular basis can be a barrier for both low-income and homeless individuals. A hot shower and clean clothes can change a person’s whole demeanor and outlook on life,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados, Liaison to the Union County Human Services Advisory Council. “Between laundry services, and access to a hot shower, the Fresh Start Program also features community providers with resources like housing, employment opportunities and supportive services. These services can help those in need to get back on their feet and onto a path of self-sufficiency. I am so proud to be a part of this initiative.”
In collaboration with community partners, Fresh Start coordinates a wide variety resources within County government including the Division of Social Services, Division of Outreach & Advocacy, Division of Individual & Family Support Services, as well as local non-profit providers. It serves as a portal to a continuum of resources for Union County residents, such as emergency shelter, food, clothing, mental health, housing and employment assistance.
The program will run from now until October, visiting various agency or faith-based organizations (to be announced) throughout Union County.
If an organization is interested in hosting the Union County Fresh Start Mobile Program at their location, a request via email can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit Union County Department of Human Services at https://ucnj.org/dhs/fresh-start.
For 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.