NJ 2-1-1 Newsletter - Spring 2017

2-1-1 Provides Support and Services

NJ 2-1-1 Powers ReachNJ Addiction Helpline

“Addiction is not a moral failing. It is a disease.” So stated Governor Christie in his State of the State address on January 10, 2017. As he laid out his plan for prevention, support and recovery, NJ 2-1-1 staff readied themselves to receive the calls that were bound for our lines. “When the Governor’s office called us to ask if NJ 2-1-1 would power the ReachNJ addictions helpline, it was a proud moment. He was placing his confidence in 2-1-1 for his signature initiative and I knew we were up to the task,” said board president, Gina Plotino. Since that day we’ve been able to help nearly 6,000 people looking for recovery resources (3,682 who have called or chatted with us online and 2,192 others who visited our website to search our resource database and read more about what’s available.)

If you or someone you know is battling addiction, call 844.732.2465 or 211. Let us start you down the road to recovery by providing you with information about existing resources in our state.  Know the signs of addiction.

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March 1 marked the beginning of text services at NJ 2-1-1, providing people with a third way of reaching out to get the help they need, along with live chat and calling. “We’ve been answering calls for help since 2005,” says call center director Janice Kaniewski. “When we began chat services in May of last year,” she continues, “we knew texting would be the next addition and we were eager to make it happen.” It’s easy to access services this way. All a person has to do is text their zip-code to 898-211. As long as that zip-code is in New Jersey, the text will automatically be routed to our call center where those looking for assistance can communicate with a call specialist without speaking a word. “We are very pleased to be able to offer this,” Ms. Kaniewski explains. “It gives people a way to reach out for help without fear of being overheard by those around them.” When a text is received our community resource specialists will text or email appropriate resources depending upon the person’s preference.

In addition to the easy access and silent nature of texting, there are several other real benefits to this service, not the least of which is something known as push-notifications. When we text with someone, we will ask them if they would like us to follow-up with them in the future to see if the referral worked out okay and sometimes, depending upon the needs of the caller, we will ask if they would like us to notify them if other resources become available. As long as the caller gives us permission to do so, we are able to reach out to them if we have information that could benefit them. In times of emergency, it is easy to imagine how useful this functionality would be. For example, if we have people calling looking for assistance with food after a storm hits like Hurricane Sandy, we could send a mass text out to those callers alerting them to new food pantries or mobile canteens as they open. The implications are tremendous for enhanced communication and service delivery.

Summer Camp on Horizon

With the arrival of spring, we have dusted off our summer pages in preparation for the warmer weather that is just around the corner. Working parents of school-age children are well aware that the need for summer recreational programs is on the horizon. Knowing that camp and recreation registrations often open at this time of year, we've put together a county-by-county listing of low-cost camp options. Other related pages that may be of interest to you, include information on how to protect yourself from the summer heat, smart food practices, park and recreation resources throughout the state, summer food programs and more. This is also where we will post information about NJ cooling centers when spring fades into those hot, hazy, and humid days of summer.

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Money Saving Reminders

It’s not too late to take advantage of tax credits you may be eligible for. Learn about the Earned Income Tax Credit that could put thousands of hard-earned dollars back in your pocket. Get free tax filing assistance at a VITA site near you.

Utility Assistance applications accepted through May 31. This is good for medically necessary cooling as well as heating assistance, but you MUST apply by May 31. Learn more on our utility assistance pages.

Page last modified/reviewed on March 21, 2017

If you know of additional resources that would be appropriate to include in this section, please let us know by contacting us via e-mail at info@nj211.org

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