Camden County Council On Economic Opportunity, Inc.

Get help with housing, finding a job, and when you're going through hard times

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NJ211 is the online counterpart to the New Jersey’s 24-hour 2-1-1 phone helpline that provides help, assistance, and resources for your basic needs, family matters, emergency preparedness, and help for when you’re going through hard times. Check out the website to look for help and resources for your specific situation, or see what you can do to help others.


HomeFront New Jersey provides comprehensive assistance to individuals and families struggling with hard times, homelessness, and related difficulties by giving them help and resources such as emergency help and assistance, help with housing, children’s programs, life and job skills training, and more. Check out their website to see all of what they can help you with, or see how you can help others as well.

New Jersey Coalition to End Homelessness

The NJCEH is a non-profit that “will advocate, educate, organize and, if necessary, litigate for emergency and permanent solutions to homelessness.” This link leads to their list of useful resources related to housing, emergency shelters, access to and resources for mental health and substance abuse treatment, assistance with food and basic needs, and resources and help for veterans and their spouses.

The State of New Jersey’s Services & Programs for Helping Individuals and Families

This page shows you all the resources you can access and the help and assistance you can get if you need help with child care and child support, emergency assistance, help with basic needs (such as food), help with Medicaid, help getting off welfare through WorkFirst New Jersey, income help for seniors, elderly, and for people with disabilities, and more. Check out the page to see all of the resources you can access and what help and assistance you can receive.

Find Help and Assistance from the Official Website of the State of New Jersey

The State of New Jersey’s official website is a good place to start if you need help with anything related to your basic needs, employment, and education. Be sure to see all the resources available to you in the Community & Wellness, Education, and Employment sections in particular.


NJ colleges, universities pledge to help neighboring communities’s Sophie Nieto-Muñoz writes about how New Jersey’s institutions of higher education are looking to work with local communities in dealing with challenges and making things better.

Leaders in county at the heart of the N.J's opioid epidemic share strategies

What are New Jersey community leaders considering in the fight against the substance abuse epidemic?’s Alex Napoliello reports.

Tough times affect just about everyone – some harder than others – and it’s not always easy to get out of a rut once you’re stuck in one. But there are some things you can do to make the challenge a bit easier to bear. It’s important to keep in mind that even when you’re going through hard times, you’re not completely helpless to try and improve your situation. From a personal standpoint, here are a few key things you can – and should! – try.

Keep A Budget Sheet and Check It Regularly

Keeping a budget sheet that you update and check regularly is very, very useful in helping you get a good idea of how you spend your money, and it also helps you identify and separate the things you really need – the essentials – from the things that you don’t – stuff you can do without that might be crippling your budget – which is key in helping you make mindful and smart decisions about what to keep spending money on and what to cut back on.

Start a spreadsheet in Excel or Google Docs, and keep track of your expenses on a daily basis. On the first column, denote each day of the month, in ascending order. On the second and succeeding columns, create categories such as “groceries”, “shopping”, “transportation”, “credit card bills”, “utilities” (water/energy/etc.), “eating out”, “misc.”, then have the last column have the sum of that day’s expenses. Fill these in at the end of each day, based on what you’ve spent.

At the end of every week or at the end of the month, you can take a look at your spending habits and see what you could do less of (e.g., buying coffee from a Starbucks or eating out at a fast food place) and what you could do more of (e.g., buying groceries and doing a bit more home-cooking). This helps you know what limits you can reasonably set for yourself, and when you can allow yourself to treat yourself a little, when possible. Even better, if you have a long-term financial goal, put that little bit of extra money into your savings account instead, and work your way toward achieving that!

Prepare Home-Cooked Meals More Often Than You Eat Out

Speaking of eating out less and doing some more home-cooking: convenience is expensive. And when you make a habit of eating out, it starts to really rack up and snowball. True, you need to invest a bit more time and energy into preparing meals at home, but that’s exactly what it is – it’s an investment. And that investment gives you returns in the form of having a bit more money to spend on other essentials, maybe even a bit of savings, and less stress when it comes to trying to scrounge up the coin to pay the bills.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – simple things like eggs, oatmeal, or some fruit for breakfast can help you save a little bit of money to start out with. Start out with one home-cooked or home-prepared meal each day just to ease yourself into the habit, then consider learning new, simple recipes for a second home-cooked meal, such as dinner.

Then, keep track of the difference between the days you eat out more and the days you eat out less – you just might be surprised at the impact it can make.

Learn Useful, New Skills – For Free

Sometimes getting the right job to cover even just your basic needs can be a challenge. One thing that could help you is learning new, useful skills that can help you get better jobs. Consider learning from places online like Coursera and Khan Academy, which offer a variety of courses that can help you develop skills that can help you get a bit more leverage in the job market.

Yes, it can take time – maybe even a lot of it – and if you’ve already got a hectic day-to-day schedule, it can definitely be a bit intimidating to consistently study without getting discouraged. But what you can do is always keep in mind that this can be the key to a better job with less stress and more financial freedom for you, and try to start small – try studying for just 20 minutes a day, and do it as consistently as you possibly can. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you certainly need persistence and grit to climb out of tough situations. Here’s the thing: you can absolutely do it!

This Lifehack article lists more free online learning websites you can check out.


Once you’ve gotten comfortable with any new skills you’ve learned (or you already have some that you think people might find useful), try doing little side projects and side jobs to supplement your income on freelance websites like Upwork (this Entrepreneur article lists a few more places online where you can get freelance gigs). Look through job listings for projects you can do on the side without negatively affecting your current job or source of income, make your pitch, and once you get a contract – boom, you’ve got a second source of revenue that can help you with your day-to-day needs.

Start small, get a taste for it first: your first step should be to try and get that first contract. It can take a lot of pitches and cover letter submissions, but keep at it until you get the first one. Make sure you read any of the helpful resources your freelance website has on building an attractive profile and creating a good cover letter, and do some searches on what successful freelancers do to get jobs.

Remember: as long as you keep learning and improving yourself, keep trying, and keep hustling, you will eventually get to where you want to be. It might take you a while, but as long as you keep at it, even when the going gets real tough, you’ll be able to get it done!

About the Author: Andre Salvatierra is a freelance writer who loves culture, technology, well-designed things, and great experiences. You can find him on Medium and Twitter.