Tornado Damage Shuts Down Some Ocean County Services in Manahawkin
Tuesday's tornado that whipped through Manahawkin leaves lasting damage that will impact needy families, seniors and others who have become accustomed to accessing Ocean County services in the township.
The building in the Southern Ocean Service Center on Haywood Road that houses the county Health Department and Social Services took a direct lightning hit that ignited the roof. The result was significant fire, smoke and water damage and lingering doubts about the structure's integrity.
"There was considerable damage," says county Freeholder Gerry Little, the liaison to human services. "Water damage, as well as smoke damage and potential structural damage." He adds that water infiltrated and compromised the building's electrical system and computer banks.
A damage assessment is under way that will determine the length of the closure and the cost of repairs.
Social services administered through the site include General Assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Adult Medicaid Family Care in addition to health services.
Also cancelled for the balance of the week are the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) clinics.
More than 80 workers from both branches are now resituated in Toms River and Lakewood. It means a lengthy journey for people who had become accustomed to services nearby since the southern center opened several years ago.
More than 11,000 people were processed through the three centers during July, according to spokeswoman Donna Flynn.
Everyone who normally receives services through the Manahawkin offices will be directed to Toms River and Lakewood. Social Services clients should call 732-349-1500 to be re-directed. Health Department schedules can be found at 732-341-9700, extension 7411, the department's web page, or Twitter@OCpublichealth.