Public Info

Union County’s “Fresh Start” Program Returns April 4th

The Union County Board of County Commissioners announce the return of the Fresh Start mobile trailer. The 2024 season will begin with its first visit to the Elizabeth Public Library on Thursday, April 4th, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The shower, laundry and restroom facilities are available on a first come, first served basis. The program includes staff from the Union County Department of Human Services, who provide in-person guidance on additional programs and resources that help foster self-sufficiency.

“We are happy to announce the return of our Fresh Start program for the 2024 season,” said Commissioner Chairwoman Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded. “This mobile program was created to further improve public health and hygiene among those who lack adequate shelter and it is a true testament to our commitment to breaking down barriers and bringing essential services directly to our communities.”

Fresh Start 2024 will consistently be located at the Elizabeth Public Library and the Plainfield Public Library once a month. Both schedules will be distributed within the next couple of weeks.

The Department of Human Services launched Fresh Start in 2021 as the first program of its kind, in recognition of the need to reduce the travel costs, time constraints and other barriers that prevent individuals from availing themselves of resources at centralized locations. The program brings basic personal care services to individuals in their communities.

The centerpiece of Fresh Start is a mobile trailer equipped with bathroom and shower units as well as laundry facilities. The trailer serves as a portal and contact platform for a continuum of resources leading to self-sufficiency, including emergency shelter and clothing in addition to ongoing resources including mental health, housing, and employment assistance.

“Fresh Start exemplifies our dedication to creating self-sufficiency and providing a helping hand where it is needed most,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados, Liaison to the Human Services Advisory Council. “The mobile unit has proven invaluable for individuals lacking consistent access to hygiene and essential services. The program also integrates community providers, offering resources like employment opportunities and supportive services, crucial in helping individuals regain stability and pursue a path towards independence.”

Fresh Start coordinates a wide variety resources within County government including the Division of Outreach & Advocacy, Division of Social Services, and the Division of Individual & Family Support Services, in coordination with community partners including:

  • Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services
  • Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless
  • Family Promise (Headquarters & Union County office)
  • Community Access Unlimited
  • Iris House
  • Plainfield Action Services
  • Prevention Links
  • PROCEED, Inc.
  • The Gateway Family YMCA
  • The Salvation Army (Elizabeth, Union & Plainfield)
  • Urban League of Union County
  • YWCA Union County

Additional details are available through the Union County Department of Human Services at For information on all Department of Human Services activities, visit online at or call the Action Line, 908-677-5405.