Morris County Hope One Dedicates New Van
Hope Hub Coordinator Officer Chelsea Whiting climbs into the new van, with (right) Hope One Coordinator Corporal Erica Valvano following her. Standing to the left (left to right) are Community Connections Coordinator Officer Justin Sudol and CPRS Jon-Erik Randazzo of CARES.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon unveiled a new Hope One vehicle at a ceremony on Court Street in Morristown attended by human services and mental health professionals, law enforcement leaders, Superior Court staff and county employees.
The new vehicle, dubbed the “mini” Hope One truck, will help to expand the popular Hope One program, transporting the team to community events and client visits throughout the county. Launched in 2017, Hope One is a highly successful and often replicated mobile outreach program by which teams travel Morris County, offering critical support for individuals and families struggling with mental health and substance use disorders, and providing Naloxone (Narcan) education, training and kits in the community.
Since the beginning, the Hope One team has stopped at over 900 locations, marking over 30,000 contacts in the community. Hope One has distributed over 5,800 Narcan kits to family members and friends of those struggling with substance use disorders, free of charge. Narcan is used to immediately treat a known or suspected opioid overdose emergency, and 114 people have reported using the Narcan kits distributed by Hope One to save or attempt to save a life.
“Hope One works because we go out into the community, we publish where we are going and we have a plains clothes sheriff’s officer, we have a mental health clinician and we have a certified peer recovery specialist who go out into the community and talk to people where they are,” said Sheriff Gannon. “We truly deal with people where they are at, and we have been very successful.”
During the initial height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hope One Project witnessed an increase of individuals who required access to critical public services. It became clear there was an elevated need for an additional Hope One vehicle to serve the community.
However, due to production delays, the Morris County Motor Services Center could not obtain a new van.
The Morris County Board of County Commissioners stepped in to provide the Hope One Project a 2019 Ford Transit passenger vehicle, which was converted into the “mini” Hope One vehicle dedicated this morning. All three vehicles now used by Hope One van were on display today.
“This is an immensely important program that has had a real impact with partner programs in Morris County on reducing drug overdose deaths, suicides and pulling people out of a cycle of despair and poverty. It’s why the program has been replicated throughout the state,” said Morris County Commissioner Doug Cabana, the board liaison to Law and Public Safety.
The Morris County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the Morris County Department of Human Services, the Mental Health Association and the Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success (CARES), staffs Hope One units with a plain clothes Sheriff’s Officer, a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist and a Mental Health Professional. In 2019, the team was awarded the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Michael Shanahan Cooperation in Public and Private Partnership Award.
The simple yet effective Hope One model has been replicated in eight (8) other counties across the State of New Jersey.
The Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One Project expanded in 2021 with the launch of the Hope Hub.
The Hub is a multidisciplinary panel made up of law enforcement, social services, mental health services, healthcare providers, treatment providers and recovery specialists. Struggling individuals and families are referred to the Hope Hub and connected to life-changing services.
To date, the program has offered assistance in 295 situations, reducing what is called acutely elevated risk (AER) in 97% of those cases.
Since Hope Hub’s inception, the Interfaith Food Pantry Network has donated a total of 17,603 pounds of food and Nourish NJ has provided Hope Hub with over 300 meals! Sheriff James M. Gannon is pleased to announce that the Interfaith Food Pantry Network & Nourish NJ’s logos have been placed on the newest Hope One van.
From homeless outreach to special events, Hope One provides a stigma free environment and a safe place for individuals and families struggling. Hope is here.
Click on Hope One to learn more about the program.