(Camden, NJ) – The Camden County Board of Commissioners is proud to announce that more than $1 million worth of funds have been made available for those employed in the direct personal care of the elderly, children and/or adults with disabilities whose wages have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible caregivers will receive $1,000 in relief funds for their hardships during this unprecedented time.
“This pandemic has rocked every industry to its core, including the field of caregiving which is among the most thankless of jobs,” said Commissioner Deputy Director Ed McDonnell. “Our hope is that these funds will provide some relief and support for those working these incredibly important and difficult jobs.”
To be eligible for this program a caregiver must: provide hands-on, direct assistance including functional living skills and basic care needs, like feeding and toileting; perform a low- or moderate-income position including care attendant, caregiver, home health aide, hospice aide, institutional attendant and nurse aide; work in institutional settings (nursing homes & hospitals,) assisted living facilities, independent living arrangements, group residential homes, schools for individuals with special needs, adult and youth day programs and/or private homes.
“Caregivers provide a critical service to our loved ones, and they have gone above and beyond to keep them safe during the pandemic,” said Congressman Donald Norcross. “I applaud the Camden County Board of Commissioners for this innovative and necessary program and I’m proud to play a part in making it possible by helping to pass the American Rescue Plan. Camden County families can count on me to continue looking out for our hardworking caregivers and those they care for.”
Caregivers must also:
- Live in Camden County or provide caregiver services to a resident of Camden County.
- Provide evidence of at least 500 hours of hands-on healthcare and/or essential day-to-day support to one or more elderly persons or children and/or adults with intellectual, physical, and developmental disabilities and brain injuries from March 1, 2020 through March 7, 2022.
- Provide a verifiable Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number to be eligible for Relief Funds under this Program, and complete IRS Form W-9 “Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification” as part of the application process.
Toni Pergolin, president and CEO of Bancroft discussed how the program will benefit the organization, which serves people with autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, brain injuries and neurological conditions.
“We are very grateful to the Camden County Board of Commissioners for recognizing our skilled and caring direct support professionals in such a powerful and generous way,” Pergolin said. “These funds will provide necessary relief to those who have dedicated their professional lives to taking care of others.”
Stefanie A. Riehl, executive director of the Larc School, shared similar sentiments.
“Helping the underserved in times of challenge has always been what we do,” Riehl said. “However, the dedication and commitment of our direct support professionals and classroom assistants during the pandemic has been nothing short of phenomenal. We are so grateful that they will now have an added boost to support their own families.”
Applications for the program will be available starting August 23 in an easy-to-use digital format. For more information, visit: CamdenCountyCaregrant.com or call (856) 389-6704 anytime from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday.
Bancroft Program Associate, Robyn Rowe, who works at the Jacob Shaffer Center was the first caregiver to register for the program.
“I want to thank the Camden County Commissioners for recognizing the field I work in, and all of the caregivers who have worked on the front lines of the pandemic taking care of our special population we serve,” Rowe said. “I am forever grateful for this grant I am receiving which will be a big help to me and my family during these difficult times.”
This allocation has been part of $55 million in federal funds the Board of Commissioners has made available to different hard-hit sectors of the community, including more than $25 million alone in rental assistance, grants for nonprofit organizations and small businesses.
Christina Renna, president of the South Jersey Chamber of Commerce, talked about the impact that the program will have on her membership and the economy.
“This will have a tremendous impact on our members and their employees,” Renna said. “Getting this money into the hands of the people of the frontlines of the pandemic will have significant benefit for both the employees and the employers. Many of these individuals have been the backbone of so many of our institutions and deserve these funds.”
Commissioner McDonnell continued to talk about the incredible work caregivers have done for our community over the course of the COVID pandemic.
“We know as a governing body we are not out of the woods yet and that we need to provide resources to the residents who have been on the front line of this pandemic,” McDonnell said. “Between the uncertainty in the workplace because of COVID and inflation, we feel that this is an underappreciated population of people who do priceless work for our loved ones every day.”
Cherry Hill Township has the largest concentration of long-term care facilities in Camden County and will have a critical mass of employees eligible for the new program. Cherry Hill Township Mayor Susan Shin-Angulo talked about the importance of these new available funds for residents and employees.
“Cherry Hill and our long-term care facilities were filled with courageous employees who were tireless advocates for their patients over the last two years and this initiative is the least we can do to show our appreciation,” Shin-Angulo said. “I want to thank the Camden County Board of Commissioners for their compassion and principles to this brave subset of employees who got many of our loved ones through the pandemic.”