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, according to a press release from the county.
Launched in 2020 by the Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners, FRI is part of Monmouth ACTS, a 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, according to the press release.
With a growing need for services due to financial strains caused by the pandemic, FRI is available to educate residents about the financial programs and services that are available to them, according to the press release.
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 more than 50 community organizations working together.
Residents can seek help from FRI in two ways:
• By calling 732-683-8959 to be connected to a member of the financial recovery team to assess individual needs and be directed to the appropriate resource;
• By visiting www.MonmouthACTS.org/FRI to obtain information about 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,” Commissioner Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley said.
“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,” she said.
FRI includes a task force of 22 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, according to the press release.
“We are 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,” Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone said.