BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. – Bergen County Freeholders applied for $246,898 in grants to help the county's Mental Health Law Project.
The Mental Health Law Project provides free legal services and advocacy for indigent mentally ill residents.
“As an attorney, I know how difficult it can be to know your rights, especially for individuals who cannot afford their own representation or have to deal with mental health challenges in addition to legal ones,” said Freeholder David L. Ganz, who serves on the Freeholder Health Committee. “Not only is this program the right thing to do, but it saves significant costs by maintaining individuals in the community instead of hospitalization or residential treatment at much greater expense.”
During 2016, the Law Project was able to resolve more than 460 cases and directly served 631 individuals. Since January 2016 the Law Project has obtained in excess of $532,302 in Social Security benefits for disabled Bergen County residents. The division also works closely with Bergen County’s Division of Mental Health and the county’s network of non-profit mental health providers, rounding out Bergen County’s continuum of mental health care with necessary legal services.
“The cases handled by our hardworking Mental Health Law Project attorneys are incredibly complex, so this kind of legal assistance is so essential to maintaining our system of community based care, which offers significant savings to taxpayers over the alternatives,” Freeholder Chairwoman Tracy Zur said in a statement. “The Mental Health Law Project is an integral tool in connecting some of our most vulnerable residents with the services they need to preserve their quality of life.”