February 3, 2023

Mayor Bhalla announces hiring of City of Hoboken Social Workers

Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla today announced Lori Hetzel and Bianca Hoffer joined the City of Hoboken as the City’s first social workers. Hetzel and Hoffer will support Hobokenites experiencing homelessness, facing food and housing insecurity, and needing mental health support services by connecting them with established care providers and resources.  

“Connecting our residents in need of food, shelter, and mental health services to existing programs is needed more than ever after the pandemic,” said Mayor Bhalla. “Creating the new social worker roles is critical to providing them with the support that will help our residents get back on their feet. I look forward to working with Lori and Bianca as they begin to bridge the gap between residents in need and the programs that are available to them.”  

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to bring to Hoboken my experience of connecting families with community resources and government programs,” said Hetzel.

“As a proud graduate of Hoboken High School, I’m honored to have the opportunity to give back to the community that raised me,” said Hoffer.  

Hetzel and Hoffer will additionally provide advice and counsel to clients, referred by the Hoboken Police Department, on topics like abuse, family disputes, and juvenile delinquency, among others.    

The social workers are an addition to the Office of Constituent Services headed by Nora Martínez DeBenedetto. In February 2022, Mayor Bhalla officially reopened the Office of Constituent Services, conveniently located on the first floor of City Hall at 94 Washington St.  

The office helps residents with quality-of-life issues, with special attention paid to the needs of Hoboken’s seniors, low-income tenants, and residents with disabilities. The office coordinates inquiries and requests with City departments and agencies on behalf of residents on a variety of topics, including the handling of counseling and referrals for social services, tenant assistance, housing and employment inquiries, violations of City codes, and general questions regarding available City services.  

The Office of Constituent Services is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To make an appointment, call (201) 420 - 2000 ext. 1311 or email ndebenedetto@hobokennj.gov.

The new social workers will connect residents in need with programs to address housing and food insecurity and more. (From left to right: Public Safety Director Ken Ferrante, Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla, Head of Constituent Services Nora Martínez DeBenedetto, Bianca Hoffer, and Lori Hetzel.)