Based at Brookdale’s Long Branch campus, the Monmouth County Displaced Homemakers Services assists individuals who through death, divorce, domestic violence, separation or disability of a spouse or long-term partner have lost their household’s primary source of income. Most clients served are from Monmouth County, although county residency is not a requirement. All services are at no cost.
“It’s a very difficult time for those who seek our help,” said Laurie Salka, who has led Displaced Homemakers Services for seven years. Clients come from all backgrounds, while the majority are separated or divorced women in their late 40s or early 50s. She estimates that her office serves about 175 individuals each year. The program has helped thousands of women attain careers, continue their education and improve their skills since it was established in 1982. The program serves displaced homemakers who are from the community at large and/or are Brookdale students.
Displaced homemakers are individuals who have lost their primary source of income due to divorce, separation, death or disability of a spouse and who must now obtain or update their skills to enter the job market. Displaced homemakers were dependent on someone else as the main household income provider and are now making the transition to heading a household and being the income provider.
Displaced Homemakers Services is a state-funded program operated under the Department of Children & Families with 16 centers throughout New Jersey. Plans are underway for a center to be located in each county. Displaced Homemaker Centers are funded primarily through the state’s divorce filing fees. A non-profit agency or organization in each county serves as the host for providing services.
In addition to Salka, the Displaced Homemakers Services at Brookdale team includes Euniqha Cox, Displaced Homemakers Services specialist. Consultants and volunteers complete the team and teach or run the computer and job search classes or various workshops.
“Unlike many programs, the services are not-income based and are open to anyone in need who meets the definition of a displaced homemaker,” said Salka. She added that individuals without dependents are eligible and that there are no time constraints for when services will expire.
Displaced Homemakers Services offers broad assistance, including individual coaching and mentoring, job search classes and success group, resume assistance, computer classes, career guidance, job leads and workshops. The office also provides internal Brookdale and community resources and referrals, and possible sponsorship in certificate training classes with priority for certificate training hosted at Brookdale through Continuing and Professional Studies.
Salka urged those who know of someone in need of services to contact Displaced Homemakers Services at 732-739-6018 or 732-739-6020 or via email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can be found at www.brookdalecc.edu/displaced-homemakers and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qx_y9kyI2-M
She also encouraged prospective volunteers interested in providing individualized computer tutoring, in-person resume assistance, or pro bono workshops on legal and/or financial topics or self-empowerment or self-care, to contact her office.