ELIZABETH, NJ – Union County officials are considering initiatives designed to benefit immigrants and residents 60 and older.

There are around 2 million immigrants in New Jersey, comprising just over one-fifth of the state’s population, the most recent Census Bureau estimates available show. We Are One New Jersey helps some of these immigrants navigate the American legal system, including at its center in Elizabeth.

“It’s a bustling office, and they do a lot of amazing work there,” said Department of Economic Development Director Amy Wagner at Thursday's Freeholder Board meeting.

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We Are One New Jersey offers classes for individuals seeking citizenship, provides scholarships to help with legal fees, helps renew green cards and refers people to legal services, Wagner said.

In December, the Freeholders approved an agreement with We Are One New Jersey to provide social and human services to Union County residents in 2019. That agreement authorizes the county to pay We are One New Jersey $245,000 for citizenship application guidance, voter registration, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals application and renewal assistance, among other services. 

The Freeholders are expected to consider a technical amendment to that agreement on Feb. 14.

Residents 60 and Up

The Division on Aging and Disability Resource Connection provides services for Union County residents age 60 and older, according to the county website.

These services – including respite care, caregiver support and legal assistance – are provided to residents and caregivers by various nonprofit partners as part of the county’s 2019-21 Area Plan, Human Services Department Director Debbie-Ann Anderson said.

As part of the plan, some partners provide home care, meals, transportation and adult daycare, Anderson said. The plan also includes community outreach to ensure that municipalities are aware of available resources.

At its next meeting, the Freeholders will consider the award of one-year contracts to nonprofit agencies participating in the program. The contracts allow an option to renew them for an additional two years if desired.

The County will reserve the right to transfer funds between the agencies if service needs change or if agencies are not sufficiently meeting the needs of residents, according to the resolution.