Ocean board of social services assists residents

Whether it is helping to keep food on the table or providing a financial bridge to keep the roof over a family’s head, the Ocean County Board of Social Services continues to provide needed help during difficult economic times, according to a county official.

“The number of people applying for assistance continues to increase, and the staff at the Board of Social Services is providing the support and help needed to navigate the programs and services available to assist during these difficult times,” said Freeholder Gerry P. Little, who serves as liaison to the Board of Social Services. “The Board of Freeholders commends the social service staff for the thorough job it is doing.”

Little noted that it is important for residents to know where they can turn when they need help. He added that unemployment continues at a rate of 9.5 percent, the latest figures available from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The programs and services administered by the Board of Social Services are increasingly seen as a financial lifeline for many families who are affected by unemployment and loss of income,” Little said.

He noted that more people were accessing programs administered by the Board of Social Services with the percentages increasing anywhere from 6 percent for Medicaid to 43 percent for food stamps.

He said applications for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families were up 19 percent from the same period in 2009, with 1,101 families receiving the assistance. In addition, he said general assistance was up by 37 percent with 2,467 people receiving it; requests for food stamps increased by almost 43 percent with 14,522 people receiving the help, and applications for Medicaid increased almost 6 percent with 17,974 people receiving it.

“The Board of Social Services administers more than 70 programs to assist needy and underprivileged families and individuals living in Ocean County,” Little said. “Funding for these programs comes from federal, state and county sources.”

Little said about $500 million in state and federal funds flow through the Board of Social Services for programs and services. In addition, Ocean County officials earmarked about $19 million in the 2010 county budget for assistance programs.

For more information about these and other programs provided by the Ocean County Board of Social Services, call 732- 349-1500.