Union County initiative provides fresh showers, laundry services for the homeless

There is help for those in need in Union County as a new initiative hits the streets.

News 12 Staff

Oct 29, 2021, 3:06 AM

Updated 898 days ago

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There is help for those in need in Union County as a new initiative hits the streets.
The county’s Fresh Start initiative is a mobile trailer unit offering hot showers, restrooms and laundry services to homeless residents of the county.
“This is really for the opportunity for the homeless and the disenfranchised individuals that need a place to take a shower and also wash your clothes,’ says Debbie-Ann Anderson, director of the Department of Human Services for Union County. “But most importantly, to be provided with human services.”
The mobile unit is equipped with a laundry room, three bathrooms with a shower, including one that is wheelchair accessible. Program partners say that this is a chance to help restore self-confidence and dignity to the county’s homeless population and to connect them with human services.
“Access to food stamp applications, access to - if they're homeless, where should they stay? Sheltering services, a lot of resources to go with the mobile unit,” Anderson says.
The Fresh Start Mobile Unit will be parked at partnering nonprofits like the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless to engage those looking to access the mobile unit with additional resources and services.
Union County has an estimated 3,200 residents who are considered to be homeless. There has been an uptick with the lack of low-income housing, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic and most recently, flooding from Ida that displaced some 400 families at the Oakwood Plaza apartment complex in Elizabeth.
“We have more people on the street than ever and it didn’t need to be this way,” says Linda Flores-Tober, executive director of the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless.
The mobile unit will be on the road in the upcoming weeks.


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