(Passaic County, New Jersey) – The Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders partnered with Perselay Associates and Janus Solutions earlier this year to work with the Passaic County Department of Human Services to perform a full needs assessment of individuals and families in Passaic County. The goal of the needs assessment is to collect data, resident experiences, and input from stakeholders in all sectors to gain a picture of what is working and what is still needed for the community’s members to be as happy and successful as possible.
“My colleagues and I on the Freeholder Board, and the entire Passaic County Administration, have always sought ways to better help our residents and fill in the gaps where disparities may lay. The county’s partnership with Perselay Associates and Janus Solutions has allowed the county to perform a deep dive into the needs of various communities, and review areas where improvements need to be made,” stated Freeholder Director Sandi Lazzara.
The needs assessment project included the formation of a collective impact approach. The Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders endorsed and established the Collective Impact Council – a team made up of the county administration, mayors, law enforcement officials, business owners, faith-based community leaders, cultural groups, nonprofits, and other stakeholders – to address and discuss the multifaceted needs of individuals and families in all aspects of their day-to-day life.
“Passaic County is one of the most diverse counties in the state, and working with community leaders that represent the individual communities that make up our multi-dimensional county has allowed us insight on access to resources that our residents could benefit from,” added Freeholder Director Lazzara.
Through the needs assessment, the team has found housing/homelessness, poverty/income disparities, and the opioid epidemic to be major difficulties residents face. Some of the proposed solutions include forming a county housing task force, developing a financial recovery and empowerment initiative, and developing a system for cataloging resources to increase access and awareness of services available to residents.