FREEHOLD, NJ – The COVID-19 pandemic has caused additional pressure for families facing challenges with employment, childcare, housing and more – many of whom are dealing with these challenges for the first time. Monmouth County residents who are feeling the financial strain are encouraged to turn to the Monmouth ACTS Financial Recovery Initiative (FRI) for help.
Launched last year by the Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners, FRI is part of Monmouth ACTS, a unique public/private partnership that brings together county employees and community partners, and the work of its existing Financial Empowerment Hub which provides financial guidance and support.
Monmouth ACTS has been there throughout the pandemic to assist families with various needs. Now, with the growing need for services due to financial strains caused by the pandemic, FRI is there to educate residents on the financial programs and services available to them.
FRI includes six service areas: financial assistance and support, financial coaching and income tax assistance, housing assistance, workforce training and employment assistance, nutrition assistance and childcare resources. Each service area is part of a growing collaboration of service providers of over 50 community organizations working together.
Residents can seek help from FRI in two ways.
• By calling 732-683-8959 to be connected to a dedicated member of the Financial Recovery team to assess individual needs and be directed to the appropriate resource.
• By visiting www.MonmouthACTS.org/FRI for a host of information about numerous resources throughout the County.
“While COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted and residents are beginning to return to a new normal, many residents are still impacted by the pandemic,” said Commissioner Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley. “They are facing unemployment – some for the very first time – and wondering how they are going to afford childcare, utility bills and so much more.”
Case in point for how FRI is helping residents: a Monmouth couple who tested positive for COVID-19 was faced with mounting hotel bills from quarantining and possible eviction from their room. After contacting the FRI warm line, they were connected to local organizations who provided them with housing and health care services.
“It gives me great joy to hear real-life stories like this where FRI is helping people get back on the road to recovery,” said Commissioner Kiley.
FRI includes a task force of 22 local community and business leaders who provide guidance. It also features a “Clearinghouse” – an online route to assistance for information sharing and access to financial recovery support, along with coordination of local, state and federal resident recovery efforts.
“We’re taking a dual approach to helping the residents and businesses of Monmouth County get through these tough times: the Financial Recovery Initiative for residents and last year’s Monmouth County CARES Assistance Grant Program for businesses,” said Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone.
About Monmouth ACTS
Monmouth ACTS (Assisting Community Through Services) was created by the Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners in 2018 to carry out recommendations of a Human Services Needs Assessment. This innovative public-private partnership brings together County divisions from the Department of Human Services and community partners on the Monmouth ACTS Advisory Council (MAAC) to enhance access to services for County residents. For more information, visit www.monmouthACTS.org.