Merilee Rutolo, CFS V.P. Development/PR
P: 856-964-1990 x265
Jere Hoffner, UWGC Executive Director
P: 856-845-4303 x14
GLOUCESTER- The lights will stay on and the phone lines will remain open through the New Year at the First Call For Help hotline, thanks to a grant from the United Way of Gloucester County.
The United Way Board of Directors approved a $5,000 emergency grant for Center For Family Services, the human services non-profit that maintains the Gloucester County-based hotline. Without this additional funding, operating costs wouldn’t be met and the First Call For Help program was at risk of ceasing operations during December, one of the most critical months of the year for those without permanent shelter arrrangements.
“We anticipate that as the weather gets colder the demand of our shelter program will not only increase but the length of stay will be longer because of weather, other programs depleting all of their funding, a shortage of affordable housing units, holidays and the need to create stability for children who are attending school”, says Robbenmarie Insogno, Information Services and Hotlines Program Director at Center For Family Services.
First Call for Help provides after hours emergency shelter placements, homeless intervention, case managements and food assistance to Gloucester County residents from 4pm-8pm during the week, and 24 hours of the weekend.
Until recently, First Call For Help was solely dependent upon a Social Services Block Grant and Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) grant to stay open. In July 2010, DYFS stopped funding the hotline completely; forcing CFS to evaluate contracts and budgets. With the assistance of the Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders through County’s Department of Human Services and the local FEMA Board, funds were made available to keep the Hotline program operational through the end of November. The United Way grant will continue the program through the end of the calendar year when new funding will be available.
For more information on First Call For Help please visit www.centerffs.org. If you are in need of assistance and would like to use First Call For Help services please call 1-800-648-0132.
Center For Family Services is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support and empower individuals, families, and communities to achieve a better life through vision, hope and strength. It is their vision that all people lead capable, responsible, fulfilled lives in strong families and healthy communities.
The United Way of Gloucester County stimulates charitable support for nearly 30 nonprofit organizations providing health and human services for county residents in need. To learn more visit the United Way’s website – www.uwgcnj.org.