State and local officials, friends and staff gathered on October 4 to mark the expansion of The Lakewood Resource and Referral Center (LRRC), 212 Second Street, Suite 204, Lakewood, and to honor Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders Deputy Director John Bartlett and Lakewood Mayor Ray Coles who have made significant contributions to the growth and development of the LRRC.

The LRRC, a federally designated 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization, provides free comprehensive social services, information, referrals, counseling, community education, and assistance in navigating government and private sector programs in such areas as housing purchasing, rental counseling, health care insurance plans, nutritional supplementation programs, and home utilities payment assistance programs to Ocean County residents.

The LRRC opened its doors in 2005. The new addition of 1,400 square feet and a reorganization of existing space will better accommodate clients, with four new offices, a larger waiting area, and a more private area where case managers can address questions and concerns.

In one month, 11 LRRC employees answer more than 1500 phone inquiries, conduct an average of 270 counseling sessions, assist more than 700 walk-ins, and teach classes for first-time home buyers, among other community, health care, and educational services and assistance.

Sarah Sternbach, executive director of the LRRC, said, “Ocean County is growing by leaps and bounds, and we are proud to be growing along with it. We worked very hard to build according to the needs of the community, helping to create a pleasant environment and an enjoyable experience for anyone who needs our help.” x

About the Lakewood Resource and Referral Center (LRRC): Specialty LRRC services include affordable and fair housing; American Recovery & Reinvestment Act; budgeting; CDC immunization compliance; credit counseling; credit repair; disability insurance; employment counseling; health care plans; lead abatement/poisoning prevention; nutrition; supplementation programs; SNAP (food stamps) application, Parts 1 & 2; presumptive eligibility screening; utilities bill and equipment assistance.

LRRC Case Managers help our clients identify the assistance programs for which they may qualify. They help clients complete the paperwork as needed. To schedule an appointment with a case manager, call 732-942-9292. For more information, visit www.lrrcenter.org for more information.

Ribbon cutting

Award to Mayor Ray Coles

Award to Mayor Ray Coles

Award to Freeholder John Bartlett