As human service needs caused by the COVID-19 crisis expand daily, Monmouth ACTS (Assisting Community Through Services) is working aggressively to identify the most pressing issues throughout Monmouth County and the most effective ways to communicate critical services and support systems to residents.
Monmouth ACTS, a public-private initiative to promote and enhance access to human services, is organizing supports available to residents struggling under the restrictions posed by the statewide stay-at-home order. The County employees and their counterparts in the private sector, who comprise Monmouth ACTS, are identifying issues that can be resolved by the initiative’s working groups, or Hubs. All services and support systems are being quickly added to the MonmouthResoureNet to help residents access Monmouth County’s resources.
“Monmouth ACTS is about working together to streamline services and make it easy for our residents to find what they need,” says Monmouth County Freeholder Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley, liaison to the County’s health and human services departments. “Our mission is more important than ever. I’m proud to see how our County is handling this crisis, in towns like Marlboro and Asbury Park, where the municipal governments are working hand-in-hand with local service providers to reach out and better help residents during this unprecedented time.”
Already, Monmouth ACTS has provided the following updates on services for residents:
- Early Childhood Success – Childcare Resources, a nonprofit agency that coordinates, assists and strengthens child care services, and the Family Advocate of the Monmouth County Council for Young Children (CCYC) are working together to streamline needs and handle the promotion of childcare resources in an effective, efficient manner.
- Positive Youth Development – Recognizing the issue of young students being out of school yet still needing connection to learning and social resources, the Monmouth ACTS Positive Youth Development Hub is surveying and inventorying state and County online resources available to children, and will provide an organized list on the MonmouthResourceNet.
- Aging – County government and communities are mobilizing to help older residents to connect with resources and stay at home. Through the Aging Hub, various initiatives are being formed to provide aid to seniors during the COVID-19 crisis, including:
- The Monmouth County Division on Aging, Disabilities and Veterans Services has developed a COVID-19 Resource Guide geared toward the aging population.
- The Monmouth County Aging Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) has remained fully operational and is collecting local municipal resources to compile in one directory.
- County employees and the various organizations that make up the Aging Hub are connecting homebound callers to a home-delivery meal source if they qualify and calling seniors to check in often.
- Behavioral Health – The Behavioral Health Hub is coordinating a large-scale mobilization of the County’s mental health community based on a model successfully implemented after Hurricane Sandy. The Hub is coordinating existing resources, identifying response liaisons from each community behavioral health agency and engaging private clinicians to participate in a network of supports for residents. The Behavioral Health Hub is also coordinating a master list of help hotlines and will make the list available for residents on the Monmouth ACTS website. When residents call the Monmouth County COVID-19 hotline (732-845-2070) for mental health support, they will be triaged into the Hub’s network of immediate responders for support.
- Housing – Monmouth residents facing homelessness are urged to call 2-1-1, or visit the MonmouthResourceNet for housing and shelter information.
- Transportation – The Monmouth County SCAT Program (Demand-Responsive Services Monmouth County Division of Transportation) is operating for senior and disabled residents needing transportation for medical or grocery shopping purposes only at this time.
The Monmouth ACTS Advisory Council (MAAC) Executive Committee will continue to integrate the Hubs with frequent phone meetings and streamlined communications. MAAC leadership estimates developments in the availability of services and supports for Monmouth County residents will come quickly.
"I am extremely grateful to all of our County employees and every essential employee who is doing their part during this pandemic, especially those who are helping our most vulnerable populations," says Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone. "Human needs for food, shelter, safety and both physical and mental wellness do not stop during a global health crisis. That is why it is so important for Monmouth ACTS to assist in bringing these various organizations together to better help the community."
“We know this is a frightening and stressful time for residents, but we’re going to get through this, and we’re going to do it together,” adds Kiley. “We thank all the workers on the front line – the health care workers, service providers, counselors and so many more who are doing inspiring work to keep us safe and provide terrific supports to our residents.”
“Monmouth ACTS was created to bring together County employees and community nonprofit leaders to share their distinct perspectives for the common good,” adds Mary Pat Angelini, Chair of MAAC and CEO of Preferred Behavioral Health Group. “Together, they find effective ways to meet today’s human service needs and improve overall quality of life, and at this time of unanticipated need, all partners are rising to the challenge.”
About Monmouth ACTS
Monmouth ACTS (Assisting Community Through Services) was created by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2018 to carry out recommendations of a Human Services Needs Assessment. This innovative public-private partnership brings together County employees from the Department of Human Services and community/private partners on the Monmouth ACTS Advisory Council (MAAC) to enhance access to services for County residents. For more information, visit www.monmouthACTS.org.