One-stop welfare center expands services in Union City

More welfare programs offered at career center

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Hudson County’s Welfare One Stop Center in North Hudson officially expanded its services on Jan. 15 after a brief ceremony at the Union City facility.

County Executive Tom DeGise and Union City Mayor Brian Stack were there to cut the ribbon at the newly expanded facility. Hudson County Department of Family Services (DFS) officially “re-launched” the North Hudson One-Stop as a facility that will also offer sign-ups for General Assistance (GA), Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), and Medicaid.

“I am honored to join Mayor Stack, who has long-championed this change, as we officially mark this significant expansion of client services in North Hudson,” said DeGise. “My thanks to our outstanding staff at DFS, DHS and DCR for making it a reality.”

Before the expansion, the office at 539 48th St. only offered the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) and welfare to work services. Now the facility will offer GA and SNAP services to qualifying recipients.

The new services provided also include Medicaid enrollment and annual benefits re-certifications. Additionally, the new offices will provide community re-integration services for inmates at the county jail aimed at helping reduce rates of recidivism.

A decade of helping temporary assistance recipients

The county’s North Hudson One-Stop Center has described itself as ground-breaking since the facility first opened more than a decade ago. The center was the first satellite location in a county in New Jersey to offer a number of services to residents receiving temporary assistance through TANF.

Those enrolled in the TANF program were able to sign-up for benefits and enroll in welfare reform-required education and job training for the first time all in one location.

Now the North Hudson One-Stop will allow all clients of County Welfare to do their annually required re-certification for benefits at this location. The only alternative location in Hudson County is the main Family Services Center in Jersey City.

It will also provide services for former inmates enrolled in the county jail’s Community Reintegration Program (CRP). The program was developed in a coordinated effort between the Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation in partnership with DFS, and the Department of Health and Human Services, which developed and administers the CRP.

The re-certification process now offered at the North Hudson location reduces what public policy experts describe as an “undue burden” on clients located in northern Hudson County.

The community re-integration program offers inmates enrolled in the program a range of services. These services seek to help inmates rehabilitate and adjust to life after jail.

CRP programs include services such as housing placement, Medicaid sign-up, job training and other assistance to inmates. According to a press release from the Hudson County Executive’s Office, the reintegration program has helped reduce recidivism rates significantly since its launch five years ago.

The office operates as the Career One Stop Center for residents of Hudson County. The career center offers a variety of resources from tech to training services.

The One Stop Center also offers career navigation and training services in addition to the new welfare services.

These career services include career counseling, Jersey Job Club workshops, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, job training, High School Equivalency (HSE) preparation, and re-employment orientation.

The facility offers staff that can assistant those interested with interviews, resumes and tuition waivers.

On-site tech tools at the One Stop Center include a copy machine, telephones, a fax machine and public computers as well as Internet access. The center is also host to a room where employers can interview those seeking jobs.

Other services are provided at the center for groups including individuals with disabilities, displaced homemakers, senior citizens, veterans, and young adults.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Dan Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.