BLOOMFIELD, NJ -- The Bloomfield Department of Health and Human Services has received a $104,000 grant from the Essex County Social Services and Homelessness Prevention program.

This grant funding will be used to advance the department’s homelessness prevention program, which provides one time assistance to individuals or families who have fallen behind on their housing costs or utilities due to a situation beyond their control.

For families with children to receive aid, they must: prove they are financially sustainable; have a source of income that meets or exceeds monthly household bills; be a citizen or legal resident; and there must be documentation of foreclosure, eviction or service suspension about to occur. Single persons, couples or families without children must meet these same qualifications.

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“The Department of Human Services helps residents understand and apply for services available to them including Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, and utility and food programs,” said Mayor Michael Venezia. “The homelessness prevention program administered by the department’s social workers and administrators can give people a second chance. This grant funding will make a big difference in the lives of many hardworking Bloomfield individuals and families.”

“We are grateful for this grant funding from Essex County, which will enable us to provide temporary assistance to more families that have fallen on hard times. Last year our social workers consulted with and provided referrals for over 1,100 residents, but there are always more people in need, and we are proud to provide these resources so people can overcome rough one-time expenses and can move on, without entering a dangerous cycle of debt,”  said Human Services Supervisor Paula Peikes.

The Department of Human Services also provides free mental health services and medication evaluations to residents who qualify for services. In each of the last two years, the department made over 200 referrals for individuals on welfare or trying to qualify for welfare, referred over 200 individuals for temporary or permanent housing in shelters, boarding homes and rooming homes, and with the help of Neighbor to Neighbor Network NTNN delivered food donated by Montclair Human Needs Food Pantry to 580 people a month.

The Department of Human Services offers benefit screenings and administers financial assistance, including the homelessness prevention program, Monday through Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm, and is open additional hours on a case by case basis. To see if you qualify for these services or other assistance programs, call (973) 680-4017 to schedule an appointment or request additional information.