A Warm Connection During the Cold Winter

Ocean Partnership for Children expands services for youth and families impacted by homelessness in Ocean County
By: Design 446
TOMS RIVER, N.J. - Jan. 19, 2023 - PRLog -- As temperatures tumble and the darkness of winter sets in, we find ourselves raising the heat and turning on the lights. Having a roof over head and a place to call home is a privilege not all are lucky enough to have, including many youth and their families.

Ocean Partnership for Children (OPC) is expanding services for youth and families impacted by homelessness with the introduction of their Homeless School Navigator (HSN).

The HSN will assist school homeless liaisons and homeless youth and families in navigating resources such as housing, medical interventions, and social service supports. This will ensure homeless youth have equal access to a free, appropriate public education and are able to enroll in and attend school. Students identified as Medicaid enrolled or eligible (income-based) and homeless are eligible for (HSN) services.

The position is funded through a grant administered by the Monmouth Ocean Education Services McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Services program through the academic school year 2023-24 and 2024-25.

"Approximately 5% of the youth and families we serve annually are impacted by homelessness", said Mary Jo Buchanan, Executive Director of OPC. "The need is great and only increasing with the colder temperatures. Our goal is to be the child's advocate."

OPC also collaborates with several providers who serve the homeless population in Ocean County. The agency, in collaboration with the Ocean County's Homeless Prevention and Assistance Coalition, has aided in the organization of the NJCounts Point-in-Time (PIT) Count of individuals and families experiencing homelessness in New Jersey.

The count takes place during the last 10 days of January and identifies those persons residing in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, safe havens and living on the streets or other locations not fit for dwelling.

On Wednesday, January 25, a public event at Lakewood Town Square will occur from 11am – 1pm. Food, donations, and community services will be available. OPC is proud to assist in the count, as well as organizing a donation drive.

About Ocean Partnership for Children Inc.
Ocean Partnership for Children (OPC) is Ocean County's Care Management Organization (CMO). Its mission is to enhance the well-being of youth and their families through natural and community supports. OPC provides care coordination services for Ocean County youth up to 21 years who have mental health, substance use, intellectual and developmental challenges.  OPC strives to keep youth at home, in school, and in the community by connecting them to resources that meet their unique needs.

OPC is a non-profit organization available at no cost to all youth and families in Ocean County who meet the eligibility criteria of the NJ Children's System of Care. To learn more, visit www.oceanpartnership.org.

Jamie Rumage
Source:Design 446
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Location:Toms River - New Jersey - United States
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