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Imagine being an operator at a call center or helpline and not being able to assist when someone calls.  That is exactly the predicament that many 211 operators* around the country are facing.  More and more families are struggling and calling to find resources.

“Falling Through the Cracks,” a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, describes how many working families are unable pay the bills but whose incomes far exceed the federal poverty limit – an outdated number upon which income limits for government assistance are often based.  This number, however, has not kept up with the current cost of goods and services so many working families are ineligible for services.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, rents went up almost 20%, food prices increased 22.1%, while energy prices were 39.8% higher.  Is it any surprise that more families, although they are working, are having difficulty making ends meet?

One call center employee admitted, “It’s heart-wrenching to have to say to someone who’s struggling, ‘I’m sorry, you’re not eligible.”

Family Promise of Bergen County is unique in that we do not rely on the Federal Poverty Level to determine eligibility for our services.  We understand that families lose their housing for a variety of reasons, many which are not in their control.  Our model recognizes that each family’s situation is different and thus the solution must be tailored to meet those needs.

Working Bergen County families facing a housing crisis are relieved to know that when they reach out for assistance, Family Promise answers the call.

*211 is a nationwide referral service that connects people with a variety of health and human service programs.