Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Burlington County hosts first Health and Housing Fair

Event focuses on healthy lifestyles and housing and support services.

April is Minority Health Month and the Burlington County Commissioners, Burlington County Department of Human Services, Burlington County Health Department and the Burlington County Minority and Equality Rights Task Force are partnering to host a first-of-its-kind resource fair focused on healthy lifestyles, housing and support services.

The Bring Health Home Fair will be held April 22 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. outside the Burlington County Human Services Building, 795 Woodlane Road, Westampton. The event will feature health screenings, fitness demonstrations, a yoga class, health talks and information sessions and case management about housing aid and resources, including rental and mortgage assistance and utilities help.

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COVID vaccines and boosters will also be made available to those who still aren’t vaccinated or boosted and free test kits will also be distributed. In addition, attendees who undergo health screenings will have the opportunity to enter multiple free raffles for items donated by the Amazon ACY2 Fulfillment Center in Burlington.

“Community health depends on a lot of different factors, including education, environment, economy and infrastructure, and we’re focused on all of them as we look to make sure Burlington County residents are the healthiest in New Jersey,” said Commissioner Felicia Hopson, the Board’s liaison to the Health Department and Department of Human Services. “Our goal is to alleviate health and housing discrepancies faced by minority and underserved communities, and by bringing all these resources together under one roof, we’re making sure our residents can easily access important assistance programs, get screened, or learn more about the benefits of living healthy lifestyles.”

State Senator Troy Singleton said the fair was a great way to support health and housing equity.

“Good health and safe, secure housing should not be reserved for those with the means to achieve it,” said Singleton. “Events like this one with free health screenings, classes and information about assistance programs help promote healthy habits and ensure that all New Jerseyans — regardless of their zip code or socio-economic status – can access nutritious foods, safe housing and other basic necessities.” 

The event is free and open to any Burlington County resident. It follows November’s hugely successful Burlington County Housing Fair. More than 500 people attended that event at the Human Services Building.

“We know a safe living environment is a critical component of overall health and that those who are struggling with housing costs may also be having difficulties with other basic needs, such as health care and nutritious foods,” Hopson said. “This fair will offer both information, case management and enrollment help for those who are eligible and in need of aid.”

The COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program run by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the Burlington County Emergency Mortgage and Utility Assistance Program are still available for applications.

Both programs can help households financially impacted by the pandemic with back rent or mortgage payments. Utility help is available along with aid for those who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless due to eviction or foreclosure.

Information is also available about down-payment assistance for first-time home buyers. Residents seeking housing help should bring proof of residency, statements of balances/arrears, income verification or proof of hardship, and any other document that applies to the housing situation.

Representatives from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and New Jersey Housing Mortgage and Finance Agency will be present to answer questions and assist with the applications, along with officials from Burlington County Community Development, the Burlington County Housing Hub and Congressman Andy Kim’s Office.

Other agencies and providers scheduled to participate include: Volunteers of America, Sevicios Latinos de Burlington County, Burlington County Community Action Partnership, Soldier On, the Burlington County Board of Social Services, the Burlington County Health Department, Burlington County Women Infants and Children program, South Jersey Family Medical Centers, South Jersey Gas Industries, Rutgers Health Initiatives, NJ CEED, Rutgers Cancer Institute, WellCare of New Jersey, Beacon of Hope, the New Jersey Division of Temporary Disability and Family Leave Insurance, South Jersey Legal Services, Christian Caring Center, Catholic Charities, RILNJ, Virtua Community Health Engagement and the Virtua Food Access Program.

The Mindful Movement Yoga classes will be held from 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. and again from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. The Zumba fitness class will be held from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“Building healthy communities requires engagement and this first-of-its kind event offers the perfect mix of activity, discussion and information-sharing,” said Burlington County Commissioner Director Dan O’Connell. “We’re bringing together dozens of agencies and groups to share information about health, housing and other programs that can improve our residents’ lives, so we hope people will come out and take advantage of the opportunities.”

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