Ocean County Press Release
TOMS RIVER – Noting its many programs and services assisting Ocean County's low-income families, the anti-poverty agency, O.C.E.A.N. Inc., recently was recognized by the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders during National Community Action Month.

National Community Action Month was created by the Community Action Partnership to reinforce the importance of agencies who help low-income families achieve economic stability.

"The outstanding services provided by O.C.E.A.N. Inc. such as serving as administrator of the Ocean County First Time Homebuyer's Program, its Head Start programs, and its assistance with Superstorm Sandy recovery are just a few of the examples of resources available to the residents of Ocean County," said Ocean County Freeholder Virginia E. Haines, who presented the proclamation with Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. "Community Action Month acknowledges the significance of helping people and changing the lives of those in need."

O.C.E.A.N. Inc. has been a Community Action Agency for residents of Ocean County for the past 52 years administering programs such as Head Start, housing counseling, weatherization, housing, energy assistance, and homebuyer education.

"It is important to recognize the impact that O.C.E.A.N. Inc. has in Ocean County," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. "Their work allows them to help residents get back on their feet. It helps residents achieve their goals."

Channell Wilkins, O.C.E.A.N. Inc.'s new President and Chief Executive Officer, said as the new CEO he was gratified to know how much the Freeholder Board knows about O.C.E.A.N. Inc. and its services.

"I have worked in several States and for the federal government," he said. "The understanding of social services and the value it offers communities is rarely as appreciated and part of the civic discourse as it is here in Ocean County. I look forward to a continued dialogue and service to this community."

Haines, who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Board of Social Services and Human Services, noted Ocean County has closely worked with O.C.E.A.N. Inc. for many years and the agency is a leader in providing needed assistance and invaluable resources to low-income families.

Using the First-Time Homebuyer Program as an example, Haines said more than 500 families have been able to obtain home ownership through the program.

Ocean County has administered the First-Time Homebuyer Program since 1994 and O.C.E.A.N. Inc. has been the administrator and consultant for the program since 1997.

"This program is a solid example of the importance of partnerships among public, private and non-profit agencies here in Ocean County," Haines said. "O.C.E.A.N. Inc., several lending institutions, Ocean County and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have all joined together in making homeownership a reality. The end result of this program is priceless."

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