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Hope One Celebrates 2nd Anniversary



When Atlantic County Sheriff Eric Scheffler started the Hope One Project in 2018, his goal was to take on the addiction and mental health epidemic in our community, helping as many people he possibly could. That dream has become a reality, as Sheriff Scheffler’s aggressive program to create a healthier and safer community recently placed its 1,000th person in treatment. 

“I am sincerely touched and proud that we have been able to help more than a thousand people in our community through the Hope One Project,” said Atlantic County Sheriff Eric Scheffler. “This is one of the many ways that I have gone outside the purview of what this office has done in the past as we have helped the community in countless ways. I continuously look at the issues that are troublesome for Atlantic County residents and do whatever I can to help those I serve.” 

Scheffler brought the Hope One Project to Atlantic County after using the Morris County initiative of the same name as a model. Hope One is essentially a mobile outreach program that connects those in crisis to treatment and offers case management for all its participants. The program follows individuals throughout their treatment, assisting participants with overcoming obstacles and issues that arise as they transition into recovery. Upon completion of initial treatment, participants are connected with support services, follow-up and recovery maintenance. “I saw a real need for this program in Atlantic County because prior to Hope One, it could have taken days or even weeks for people to get the help they needed so badly,” Sheriff Scheffler said. “No one chooses to be an addict or suffer from mental health issues. So, to me, waiting that long was just unacceptable.” 

Scheffler, a retired Lieutenant from the Atlantic City Police Department, has accomplished his Hope One Project goals without costing taxpayers a penny. Hope One is entirely funded with donations, partnerships and grants, including an unprecedented $2 million grant in 2019. The money, awarded through the Rowan Partnership Grant Program, is the largest grant in the history of the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office and is being used to properly train and equip people with Narcan during our nation's opioid crisis. 

The Hope One Project doesn’t stop at just addressing those with addiction and mental issues in Atlantic County but helps the less fortunate in many ways, including assistance with housing, 

food and utilities, as well as Narcan training, which has saved many lives. 

Other notable extensions of the Hope One Project include an Overdose Response Team; an Emergency ID Program to assist people in need of a temporary ID in order to enter a treatment program; a RecoveryYoga Program that provides weekly yoga instruction for those involved in court-appointed recovery; the Suits For Recovery Court Program to provide donated suits to individuals participating in the courts Recovery Program; the Medication Drop Boxes Program, created in partnership with the DEA to install drop boxes in courthouses as well as Brigantine City Hall and Buena Vista; the Transportation to Treatment program that doesn't only get you or your loved ones enrolled into treatment, but makes sure you or your loved ones in need get to treatment safely; Sober Living Grants for people in need of sober living houses after treatment; and job placement assistance. 

“This is just the beginning,” said Sheriff Scheffler, who is seeking re-election on Nov. 3. “I believe that the health of a community is vital to its safety. With continued leadership, vision and compassion, I know Atlantic County is better today and will be stronger tomorrow.”

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