How does this coordination between agencies work? During the pandemic, community partners gathered to form the Buffalo County Community Response Team, a new collaborative of agencies connected to support families and individuals in need. When all local agency resources have been exhausted or a gap in services is identified, agencies can apply on behalf of the family or individual for community response funds to cover the gap.
Emergency support agencies like Kearney Jubilee, Salvation Army, Community Action Partnership are the front line for people asking for food, shelter and utility supports. Community partners wrap around these emergency support agencies to coordinate resources to help persons in need, adding employment, mental health supports, stable housing and additional coordinated services. Community partners have illustrated the success of this work as 89% of those served had their needs met and have not returned for additional services.
Those who have returned for additional supports are invited into a coaching relationship with Compass or Families Care to receive three months of weekly meetings with a case manager to set and achieve goals to self-sufficiency. The coaching component is new to our community and of those accepting this support, 64% have successfully completed the goals they set to achieve.
Why do we need funds at the end of the year? Funding for this program has been provided by Nebraska Children and Family Foundation. Due to the pandemic, they worked to ensure every community in Nebraska is covered by this type of community collaboration. With the increase of needs across Nebraska, the Foundation funds are very tight leaving us a funding gap at the end of the year. Last year, the CARES Act funding supported this gap.
How will your donation be invested? Your dollar will directly benefit the individual or family being served, no administration fee will be assessed by these collaborating community partners. Every dollar raised will prevent an utility shut off, pay for a temporary hotel/motel room or rent/mortgage, provide a food voucher or gas voucher to assist in getting person to work or school.
The Community Response fund does not reimburse person directly, funds go to the past due bill with the local landlord, utility company or grocery store. Your dollar will prevent homelessness, hunger, utility shut offs, and a crisis leading to more crisis for families in your community.
Our Community Responsibility: Leaving responsibility of a single agency or family to solve the challenges of homelessness, hunger and more is not an effective strategy, Buffalo County wants to do this work better for our residents. Working together to build relationships with community partners and those with lived experience is an innovative model for change and a foundation to create a collective responsibility of our residents. Today, 24% of people who accessed Community Response funds had not been to a helping agency before the pandemic.
How do we know this works in Buffalo County?: