North Hudson Community Action Corporation (NHCAC) has been in existence since 1965, now serving Hudson, Bergen & Passaic counties. NHCAC has been helping to keep those with less means healthy in these counties for years. With the downturn of the economy, many have lost their benefits and can no longer afford medical care. NHCAC is making it possible for everyone to receive quality medical care, no matter what their financial situation. NHCAC offers four main services which are their Community Health Centers, Head Start, Children First and Social Services.
Community Health Centers
NHCAC has 9 Community Health Center locations in West New York, North Bergen, Garfield, Union City, Jersey City, Hoboken, Passaic (2), and Hackensack. The services provided at their Community Health Centers include, but are not limited to, adult medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, podiatry, and mental health. The NHCAC notes that users of the Community Health Centers have doubled since 2002 and, “In 2008 the health centers served over 61,184 patients and provided over 203,923 patient encounters.”
In addition to the Community Health Centers, Mobile Health Center Community Screenings are offered throughout the year to residents. The mobile units screen local residents for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. So far, “8,205 people” have benefited from the Mobile Health Center Community Screenings offered by NHCAC. A schedule of times and locations for the Mobile Health Center Community Screenings is available on their website.
NHCAC also offers a Substance Abuse Treatment Center which offers “outpatient, individual, group, and family counseling for alcoholics, the dually addicted, and their families.” The program is offered in English and Spanish, to accommodate the high density of Spanish speaking residents in those counties. The Senior Treatment and Education Program (STEP) assists those 60+ in need of help recovering from abuse.
NHCAC also conducted H1N1 vaccination for local schools and child-care facilities, as well as low-cost public flu clinics. In the spirit of keeping our children protects, NHCAC offered a “Free Immunization Night” in 2010 where parents could bring their child under the age of 2 to receive free immunization in honor of the Center of Disease Control’s National Infant Immunization Week.
NHCAC’s Mental Health Department partners with New Jersey Self-Help Group Clearinghouse and offers a wide array of support groups ranging from the Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bereavement Support, Youth Connect and a multitude of more.
The Head Start and Early Head Start programs are funded by the Federal Government and focus on child development in order to prepare children from low-income families to enter schooling. Head Start also assists parents through support services and educational programs to help parents gain employment and become self-sufficient. There are 8 Head Start Centers in Hudson County with one in North Bergen, Guttenberg, Kearny, 2 in West New York, and 3 in Union City.
NHCAC also offers Children First Child Care Centers which provides affordable child care from Monday to Friday 7:00am – 6:00pm. Children First Child Care Centers accept children from 6 weeks old to 4 years and have bilingual caregivers which are state certified. Nutritious meals and snacks are provided for the children who play in a safe playground during the day.
NHCAC provides a vast array of Social Services for northern New Jersey residents. The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program offers nutritional assistance to pregnant and nursing women, infants and children up to 5 years old. Many times low-income families cannot afford the expensive baby formula or nutritional supplements which will keep their child growing strong, so WIC helps by providing a way for these families to provide the right nutrition to their children. I have seen firsthand the benefits of this program as many of our patients in the pharmacy I worked at in North Bergen participated in this program and were able to help their children get stronger physically until they no longer needed to use any nutritional supplements.
In addition to WIC, emergency food and shelter services are available to help those who face an immediate need and prevent homelessness. Immigration services are incredibly important, considering this area of the state has always been one composed of immigrants. The Immigration services can help you to obtain a visa or amnesty.
With today’s economy, many are without a job. NHCAC offers job placement services to assist in not only finding a job, but polishing your resume, improving your interview techniques, and networking. In this way, northern New Jersey residents can better themselves through gaining permanent employment which can help them gain self-sufficiency so that they no longer need any state assistance.
Community Impact As I mentioned before, I worked in a 2 pharmacies in North Bergen for a number of years and saw many people who were able to take advantage of these services. A great number of our patients used the Community Health Centers for their entire families. When you live in a low-income family and do not have health benefits, your only option when you are sick is to go to the emergency room, which we all know is neither efficient nor cost effective. North Hudson Community Action Corporation has made it possible for these residents to receive quality medical care at their Community Health Centers, provide essential nutrition for their children’s growing bodies through Social Service’s Women, Infants and Children program, then prepare those same children for school with the Head Start program, and safe child care through Children First. Northern New Jersey residents are truly grateful that such a fantastic organization provides such essential programs to keep its residents healthy.