A Warm Connection During the Cold Winter Months

A Warm Connection During the Cold Winter Months

TOMS RIVER, NJ – As New Jersey temperatures take a tumble and the darkness of
winter sets in, we find ourselves turning up the heat and turning on the lights more and
more. Having a roof over our head and a place to call home is a privilege not all are
lucky enough to have, including many youth and their families here in our community.
The impact of homelessness does not discriminate.

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

The Homeless School Navigator will assist school homeless liaisons and homeless
youth and their families in navigating needed resources such as housing, medical
interventions, and social service supports. This will help to ensure homeless children
and 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 the School Homeless Navigator services.
The position is federally funded through a grant administered by the Monmouth Ocean
Education Services (MOES) 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

OPC also collaborates with several providers and organizations 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. Organized outreach to specific
sites will be conducted throughout Ocean County from Wednesday, January 25, 2023,
through Tuesday, January 31, 2023.

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

For more information:

About Ocean Partnership for Children Inc.
Founded in 2005, 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 the age of 21 years who have
mental health, substance use, intellectual and developmental challenges. OPC strives
to keep children and adolescents at home, in school, and in the community by
connecting them to resources that meet their unique needs and help them achieve
their goals.

Ocean Partnership for Children is a non-profit organization available at no cost
to all youth and families in Ocean County who meet the eligibility criteria
of the New Jersey Children’s System of Care. To learn more, visit
www.oceanpartnership.org or https://www.oceanresourcenet.org.