Basic Needs & Emergency Services

The impact of the current economic crisis has resulted in a significant increase in demand for emergency assistance. The Monmouth County Department of Human Services, Division of Social Services has reported an overall increase of 24.8% in applications for services from 2007 to 2008. The largest increases in applications are for the Food Stamps and Medicaid programs. Many of the new applications are from middle class households who are coming to apply for services for the first time. This economic crisis only heightened the importance of ensuring households are financially stability particularly due to the high-cost of living in our county. On average, a household in Monmouth County needs to earn over 3 times the Federal Poverty Level to be considered financially stable—which is higher than the national figure of 2.5 times the FPL. In order to move the bar on financial stability in our county we must first begin by helping families in financial crisis to meet their basic needs. Then, we must connect these households with the tools and strategies to help them increase and maximize their income, as well as begin the longer-term process of saving and building assets to be able to meet future crisis..

Objective

Strategies

Resources

Connect households in financial crisis with emergency assistance to meet immediate basic needs 1. Increase awareness of 2-1-1 to connect people with available assistance

2. Connect households in financial crisis with:
  • Emergency Food
  • Financial Assistance
  • Emergency Shelter/Placement
  • Prescription Assistance
Advocacy

Collaboration
Funding
Public education & awareness
Volunteers

Address obstacles/barriers to financial self-sufficiency 1. Establish UWMC Financial Stability Initiatives:
  • Emergency wrap around fund for clients with a focus on households that do not qualify for other assistance
  • Requirement to participate in programs to develop and implement long term financial stability plans including:

o Life skills training
o Credit repair
o Debt reduction
o Budgeting
o Money management
o Financial literacy & education

Collaboration

Funding

Increase access to public benefits to increase a household’s income 1. Conduct training for providers on benefits (i.e. food stamps, Medicaid, WIC) to increase awareness and access

2. Pilot tool to screen customers/clients at food pantries/emergency services for eligibility for public benefits and offer/ encouragement to enroll

3. Expand access to the Earned Income Tax Credit through the expansion and promotion of VITA sites

Collaboration

Funding
Public education & awareness
Volunteers

Increase household’s access and ability to build savings, gain and sustain assets and manage future crisis 1. Encourage/develop access points to the financial mainstream for un-/under-banked households by partnering with financial institutions to encourage savings

2. Increase awareness of the importance of saving, reducing debt, and building wealth

3. Assist lower-income and lower-wealth individuals and families accumulate savings for investments in long-term assets (i.e. house and/or home repairs, postsecondary education, a small business, or a car) through matched savings accounts-Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)

Collaboration
Funding
Public education & awareness