Leaders from three social service agencies on the Route 1 corridor are exploring ways to better coordinate efforts and are considering centralizing operations in a single location.
United Community Ministries, New Hope Housing and Good Shepherd Housing a and Family Services all work with the low-income and marginalized populations. UCM Acting Executive Director Elizabeth McNally said co-location of the agencies has been discussed.
"It’s really just exploratory talks right now,” she said.
The recession has negatively impacted funding for all three organizations. McNally said greater coordination would allow more efficient use of available resources.
“All three organizations are looking at how we can make services more streamlined in the areas we serve, and we’re all open and ready to explore that,” she said. “And ultimately, what we want to do is make sure we offer an even better service to our community. So it’s about looking at what each organization does, and each organization plays a vital role in human services provision.”
Shannon Steene, executive director at Good Shepherd Housing, said further collaboration builds on a strong traditions of various community groups working together and avioding service duplication.
“This is defnitely the same thing, taking a look in an era of tight resources," he said. "We are exploring all options to use our researorces in the most effcieint manner possible.”
Above all, the organizations are looking at coordinating emergency services, such as emergency food supplies, eviction prevention and medical and dental assistance. The three groups have no plans to merge, McNally stressed.
“The bottom line is we want to make sure the community is getting the best service, the service they deserve.”
UCM assists families and individuals to improve the quality of their lives in a manner that builds their self-reliance and fosters their ability to function at the greatest level of their social and economic capacities. It was founded in 1969.
New Hope Housing was founded as Route One Corridor Housing in 1977 by a group of concerned citizens concerned about homeless families and individuals. Today, it operates a number of homeless shelters and provides other assistance to the poor.
Good Shepherd Housing was founded in 1974. It's mission is to reduce homelessness, increase community support and promote self-sufficiency.