Posted Monday, May 6th, 2019

Twins with Sheriff’s Hope One Mobile Program to Serve County Residents

The Morris County Board of Freeholders this morning unveiled the new Navigating Hope mobile social services vehicle, which soon will launch to points across the county to bring assistance-on-wheels to residents in need across the county’s 39 municipalities.

A partnership between nonprofit Family Promise of Morris County and the Morris County Department of Human Services, Navigating Hope will be a working companion to Sheriff James M. Gannon’s Hope One van that provides mobile mental health and addiction services across the county.

Freeholders Unveil

(l/r) Navigating Hope driver Chris Linne, Deputy Freeholder Director Heather Darling, Ashley Reed of Family Promise; Joann Bjornson, Executive Director of Family Promise; Meagan O’Reilly and Rewaida Muheisen of the Morris County Office of Temporary Assistance, Maria Fodali of Family Promise, and Erica Johnson of Office of Temporary Assistance.

Navigating Hope will offer benefits such as eligibility screenings, on-site benefits application assistance, and links to a variety of social services for low-income and homeless individuals across Morris County.  It will link residents to social services offered by hospitals and nonprofit partners through technology onboard the mobile unit.

Navigating Hope and Hope One will at times travel across Morris County in tandem to deliver vital services to residents in need of assistance.

“Hope One has had a major impact on dealing with addiction and mental health issues in Morris County,’’ said Deputy Freeholder Director Heather Darling. “Now, the county will expand on that great work with Navigating Hope and reach out even further.’’

“Navigating Hope, along with Hope One, embraces the county’s Stigma-Free initiative, fostering assistance and treatment for county residents in need,’’ added Freeholder Kathy DiFillippo, liaison to the county’s Human Services agencies.

“Together, the innovative Hope One and Navigating Hope mobile outreach programs will help people overcome substance use dependencies and issues that attach to addiction such as homelessness, lack of jobs and adequate nutrition,” “said Sheriff Gannon.

Freeholders Unveil

Deputy Freeholder Director Heather Darling talks with Joann Bjornson, executive director of Family Promise, inside the new Navigating Hope mobile social services vehicle.

The Navigating Hope vehicle, joined by Hope One, was on display this morning on Court Street in Morristown. It is a Ford E350 Super Duty Cutaway, weighing 12,500 pounds. It has two separate interview areas where applicants can apply directly for benefits, as if visiting the county’s Morristown or Dover Office of Temporary Assistance (OTA) sites.

Each work station is equipped with a computer, dual monitors and a multi-purpose business machine (for faxing, scanning, etc…) which connect to the county’s OTA via a wireless connection.  The vehicle is further equipped with a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, plus an external awning to protect visitors from the elements.

Links to services include, but are not limited to:

  • affordable housing and shelter resources
  • aging services
  • domestic violence needs
  • veteran’s services
  • medical services
  • legal services
  • transportation assistance, and more.

Benefits applications/services include:

  • SNAP (food stamps)
  • healthcare
  • WIC (nutritional assistance)
  • utility assistance
  • cash assistance (GA/TANF)
  • child support assistance, and others.
Freeholders Unveil

Freeholder Deborah Smith and Morris County Assistant Human Services Director Gary Denamen inspect the Navigating Hope mobile social services vehicle.

“Navigating Hope is about social justice, dignity and respect. It will provide access to resources that our neighbors may not know exists, and will offer face-to-face support and engagement. It is also about community coming together to serve community,’’ said Family Promise Executive Director Joann Bjornson.

Navigating Hope will assist applicants who would have difficulty visiting either the Morristown or Dover OTA offices. It will visit many of Hope One’s regular stops, including supermarket shopping centers, libraries, churches and other faith-based sites, train stations, and shopping malls, among many locations.

Hope One, which launched on April 3, 2017, currently travels twice a week to locations throughout Morris County, bringing services to persons in need. A sheriff’s officer, licensed clinician, and a certified peer recovery specialist – who understand the needs of those suffering with addiction — staff the vehicle.

Since its start, Hope One has made 6,258 contacts with county residents in 252 stops, provided life-saving Narcan training to more than 1,700 residents, referred almost 100 residents to mental health treatment or resources, and sent 104 residents to recovery or rehabilitation facilities.