Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon’s groundbreaking Hope One program that offers critical in-the-field support for persons struggling with addiction, celebrated its first birthday on April 3 with the unveiling by Morris County of its new “Navigating Hope’’ mobile human services operation.
Navigating Hope will work in concert with the Sheriff’s Hope One unit, with both fully staffed mobile vehicles traveling together across Morris County to deliver vital services to residents most in need of assistance.
“Hope One’s impact on the addiction and mental health communities in Morris County has been tremendous,’’ said Morris County Human Services Director Jennifer Carpinteri. “Now, the county is going to expand upon the great work being done by the Sheriff and his Hope One team.’’
Hope One travels twice a week to locations throughout Morris County, bringing services to persons in need. A sheriff’s officer, licensed clinician, and a certified peer recovery specialist – who understand the needs of those suffering with addiction — staff the vehicle.
Their goal is to prevent drug overdoses and deaths by reaching out to those in need, rather than wait for them to show up in a hospital emergency room.
In the first year of operation, Hope One has compiled some amazing statistics, with nearly 3,000 residents in need visiting the Hope One mobile unit and nearly 850 county residents receiving life-saving Narcan training to be employed in emergencies.
Hope One’s many stops have included supermarket shopping centers from Chatham to Kinnelon, libraries from Rockaway to Whippany, the Morristown Green, a Dover church, and even the Rockaway Townsquare mall, among many locations.
“Sheriff Gannon and his team have searched out those in need, aggressively pursuing and helping people who are most in danger of succumbing to the scourge that has taken far too many lives and destroyed far too many Morris County families,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo.
“Hope One, and now our new Navigating Hope, embraces the county’s Stigma-Free initiative that fosters treatment for persons in need, no questions asked,’’ said DeFillippo, who was joined by Freeholder Deborah Smith at the event.
Once the Navigating Hope vehicle is ready to roll, in late spring or early summer, the two vehicles will travel in tandem.
The Navigating Hope mobile community assistance outreach program will offer a broad range of county services for people it encounters in the field, in areas such as homelessness, affordable housing, employment, aging, veterans’ services, Medicaid, Food stamps, child support, and transportation needs.
It also will link those residents to other key social services offered in the county by hospitals and nonprofit partners through technology onboard the mobile unit.
Sheriff Gannon chose the Morristown Green for today’s event because that was where he launched it on April 3, 2017. He was joined by a crowd of partners in the endeavor. They included Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp; Bob Davison, Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris Counties; Sheriff’s Cpl. Erica Valvano and members of the Sheriff’s Community Services Unit, representatives of the county Department of Human Services, and Morris County Prevention is Key and their Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success (CARES), run by Alton Robinson.
Hope One is able to provide clients immediate access to services and treatment facilities, putting them on the road to recovery and wellness.
In addition, Narcan training and kits are provided to family members and friends of individuals with opiate addiction.
To allow for more interaction and the ability to connect with individuals with addiction disorders, Hope One travels to different communities within Morris County. The vehicle parks and sets up refreshments in an effort to encourage individuals in need of services to approach the vehicle.
Providing a comfortable, stigma free setting has allowed this program to effectively make contact with and provide services to individuals who have had difficulty navigating and accessing services.
The program’s success has drawn the interest of other communities, with Monmouth and Atlantic counties, and the city of Newark planning to launch similar efforts, the Sheriff said.
For more information on Hope One, visit: https://morris.caresnj.org/workshops/ or https://sheriff.morriscountynj.gov/community/hope-one/.