Resources for Newark residents

Newark County Committeeperson Douglas Freeman called in to say, Newark’s South Ward Residents need food, baby food, diapers; warming and charging stations. Residents basically just want something that says, “We care. we’re not just leaving you here and you’re fending for yourselves with no one caring what’s happening to you. I was in the dark along with everyone and we had electrical wires hooked up between houses and all of that – if we could do that, I know the city can do something … Just show people that you care, that’s all.” read more

Sandy recovery – get & give help

General government-based assistance

  • Legal hotline for NJ residents needing legal assistance after #Sandy.
    1-888-541-1900 or probono_public_service/ls_pb_hurricane_sandy_fema_new_jersey.authcheckdam.pdf
  • A special Federal Government website is set up to process Sandy requests http://www.disasterassistance.gov. It consolidates the application process across several Federal agencies, including FEMA and the Small Business Administration and reduces the number of forms applicants will need to fill out and you can check the progress of your applications online. You can also apply at
    • 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362) or fema.gov
    • via smartphone at m.fema.gov
    • Speech disability or hearing loss
      TTY 1-800-462-7585
      711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) 1-800-621-3362

    Financial assistance and grants

    Look into applying for a Lion Clubs International direct grant or see what your local club has to offer. FEMA assistance and how to apply

    5. Operation Hope
    Financial dignity nonprofit Operation HOPE offers financial triage, financial recovery and free consultation services for individuals and small business owners impacted by Hurricane Sandy. More information here

  • 6. Disaster SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Information (aka Foodstamps)
    SNAP Handbook Guide
    b. D-SNAP Toolkit: SNAP Guidance Toolkit.pdf

Health issues

The New Jersey Department of Health has public health experts available through the state’s 2-1-1 system to answer questions about food and water safety and mold removal. To reach public health experts, call 211 or 1-866-234-0964, or visit them online at nj211.org. Experts are available 8am-8pm weekdays and 10am-5pm weekends. More than 800 New Jersey residents have called the Department of Health hotline seeking help with food and drinking water safety, mold removal and prevention of carbon monoxide poisoning. The 211 number is open for general enquiries 24/7. read more

Obama Cares. Romney is just clueless.

Christie thanks Obama for his help

Christie thanks Obama for his helpA pretty odd report by CBS News tries to show Obama in a bad light, but since there’s no legitimate criticism to report, the article ends up grudgingly praising the President’s stewardship of the nation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction. CBS points out that President Obama will shine if he simply takes good care of the nation in these difficult days – which Obama will of course do consummately well, because he’s an excellent manager and he cares – and laments that Romney as the non-encumbent can’t do much to counterbalance that. read more

Resource list for Sandy’s hardest hit

Obama signs stand proud through Sandy's worst
Obama signs stand proud through Sandy's worst
Obama signs stand proud through Sandy’s worst

Hurricane Sandy left a huge mark in its wake, with about $20 billion of damage and over 7 million in the dark, half of those in the New Jersey/New York area. My family was blessed to pass through the storm safely, comfortable in our home with both lights and heat on. We pray for friends who were not so fortunate and are ready to help, if you just reach out. A year ago when Irene left us without electricity, we were fortunate that friends who hadn’t lost theirs invited us to share the wealth of their warmth and light. read more

Resources to overcome depression and mental illness

If you need a place to spend social time, a volunteer opportunity, psychotherapy, housing or vocational training, here are some resources for people challenged by depression or another form of mental illness. Please feel free to post resources you know of which aren’t listed in a comment and I’ll add them to the list after checking them out.

For US By US Self Help Center 40 North Van Brunt Street, 2nd Floor, Englewood, NJ 07631 201-541-1221 Hours: Monday-Friday 1-5pm What it is: This program is a place where people dealing with a mental health issue of any type can spend time to socialize or spend quiet time in a place away from home. Activities take place that you can join if you like. The center is pretty much run by peers with professional oversight in the background. Who can participate: You may self-qualify to participate. Admission requirements: Drop-ins welcome – just show up. Feel free to ask a friend to bring you by. Work/volunteer opportunities:
  • Volunteering: can help out immediately and after a few weeks, can sign up to be on the scheduled volunteer rotation.
  • Paid positions: after volunteering for a while, people can qualify for a paid position when one opens up.
Crossroads to Wellness at Care Plus NJ 610 Valley Health Plaza, Paramus, NJ 07652 201-265-1233 careplusnj.org/pages/3087/index.htm What it is: A program which provides rapid access to comprehensive and intensive mental health services, integrated with self-directed wellness and recovery tools. Who can participate: All Bergen County Residents Admission requirements: Must be in acute need of mental health services or transitioning out of a long-term facility. Friendship House 125 Atlantic Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601 201-488-2121 njfriendshiphouse.org What it is: Support and training for mentally ill or behaviorally challenged individuals in need of vocational rehabilitation, group therapy, workplace reintegration skills and assistance, job coaching. Work/volunteer opportunities:
  • Supportive in-house workplace environment available on site. Pay commensurate with an individuals’ productivity level
  • Friendship House programs include
    Computer training, culinary classes, maintenance work and clerical training. Social groups, therapy groups, beauty classes, diet classes, diabetes management, groups for young people diagnosed with Asperbergers or on autism spectrum

Admission requirements: By referral. Call to speak with a program counsellor who can help you understand the steps needed to be referred into one of the organization’s programs.

  • Volunteer Center of Bergen County
    64 Passaic Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601
    201-489-9454 bergenvolunteers.org info@bergenvolunteers.org
    What it is: A service that matches volunteers with non-profit organizations in need of help.
    Work/volunteer opportunities: read more

  • Help for low-income families to fight an eviction demand

    I’d like to direct D to some resources that may help her fight eviction.

    D writes:

    Looking for an attorney who would be willing to help on a pro bono basis a young family with two adorable children (under three years old) to avoid eviction from their apartment. The apartment has not received the appropriate heat this winter, and thus their children are always sick. So they withheld their rent to try to get the landlord’s attention. Instead they received an eviction notice. The court date is this Thursday. Any help would be truly appreciated.” read more

    Intention to Deprive (Blacks, Latinos and Seniors)

    There’s so much more intentional deprivation of what the vulnerable among us need to be well, than decent people imagine: of the poor, the uneducated and also, the elderly. Intentional deprivation of some leads to the humongous prison population in the United States and, as a cousin recently pointed out on Facebook, seniors suffer from a type of forced incarceration too. Tucked out of public sight in nursing homes where they, according to Laura, “have cold meals, lights off at 7pm, two showers a week, live in (rooms smaller than some prison cells) and pay rent at $4,000 a month!”. The cost for both prison and nursing home housing is unconscionably high and in some cases the service delivery is dismal too, because these facilities are increasingly, privately owned. That means investors are concerned more about profiting from owning these places, than they are about the welfare of the residents inhabiting them. In the case of seniors, oversight is also an issue. read more

    AAA Free Tipsy Tow Service NOT A Nationwide Program

    2014 Update for New Jersey drivers: Sober Sam is available but

    News about AAA offering free towing service nationwide to get inebriated drivers home safely on New Year’s Eve is circulating virally on Facebook but according to Snopes, less than a dozen states offer this program.

    When you see this posted on Facebook, tell people not to rely on the service. There’s only a limited chance it will be in effect where they live:

    No Excuses!!! Don’t drink and drive — and don’t ride with anybody who does. Tipsy Tow offered by AAA: You don’t have to be a AAA member, from 6pm-6am on New Year’s Eve/Day they will take your drunk self and your car home for FREE. Save this number … 1-800-222-4357. read more

    Get Annie back to her owner

    My Aunt writes from Florida:

    I know the heartache of losing a pet. My Aussie was 9 when she died and this dog is 8 and the man had her since a puppy. The article spells it all out. I am also contacting the local talk show to see about starting a legal fund for him. An organization has already offered the people who adopted the dog $1,000 but they won’t accept the money in exchange for Annie’s return. We need to write letters to help Chuck get his 8 year old Australian Shepard back. She got spooked while he was feeding horses. Chuck looked for her and made a report to animal control but his dog was adopted out to new owners, and they refuse to give her back. read more

    AIDS Walk in memory of my brother

    My cousin Jill Judson has a team in AIDS Walk Boston on June 6 2010 in honor of my brother Jared, who died of AIDS. If you are able, please support Jill with a donation. Visit the team page for more information or visit “JILLElizabeth Judson directly to make your donation via the internet or by mail.

    Apparently, Jill has participated in the AIDS walk every year for the past 5 or 6 years. This is remarkable commitment for anyone, and considering that Jill struggles with physical issue of her own which make walking far a challenge for her, it is really the most lovely and loving tribute. As you can see, there are several other members on Jill’s team helping to make this march. read more

    Eat and support mental health care

    On October 28 present this coupon at Blue Moon Mexican Café in Englewood and 20% of your bill will be donated to Advance Housing, Inc. I’m an Advance Housing board member so I totally think you should treat all of your family members and work colleagues to a meal at Blue Moon in Englewood on the 28th!

    Valid only in the Englewood location
    Good for any food and drink
    Anytime from 11:30am-11:00pm on October 29, 2009
    Blue Moon Mexican Café
    21 E. Palisades Avenue, Englewood, NJ 07631
    201 541-0600 read more