How can Service Coordinators identify community-based services and resources for referrals?
The ability of ROSS Service Coordinators to identify community-based organizations for referrals will vary significantly depending on where the grantee is located. Some communities may have a diverse group of service providers addressing a wide variety of needs for their clientele. In other communities, especially smaller towns, it may be more difficult to identify providers that can fully address the needs of all program participants.
Existing service provider networks can give the ROSS Service Coordinator ready access to a wide range of service providers. Where Service Coordinators have identified a need to supplement or establish a new PCC, they should explore other sources of information about service providers and community stakeholders. Some possibilities include:
- Banks and credit unions — may offer partnerships with non-profits providing financial education and credit counseling;
- Local and State Department of Health or Department of Child & Family Services — may offer grants or other support to local service providers;
- Local chapters of Kiwanis, Lions Club, Rotary Club, or other service organizations — may work closely with community service providers on a volunteer basis;
- Local foundations or local chapters of national and international charitable organizations (e.g., United Way) — may offer grants or other support to local service providers; and
- Area universities or community colleges — may:
- offer literacy programs or entry-level job training programs;
- have social work programs for which students need to fulfill service requirements;
- be affiliated with affordable medical care and professional services through health care clinics or the medical school; or
- offer legal aid clinics run by the law school.
Web-based directories that aggregate listings of local service providers can streamline the process of identifying organizations to fill service gaps. While typically intended for use by individuals or families in need of assistance, Service Coordinators can tap these resources to identify potential partners. Please refer to the textbox for an illustrative list of online resources and databases.
National directories of local services
Websites with searchable databases of service providers can enable Service Coordinators to quickly and easily identify potential places to refer program participants. Examples include:
211 – Accessible online or by phone, this service created by the United Way provides map-based views of providers focused on elderly services, immigration, and more.
Aunt Bertha – Search the database by ZIP code to browse listings from various categories, from help paying for public transit to assistance with medical supplies.
Head Start Center Locator – This website makes it easy to find and learn more about local Head Start programs.
Healthcare.gov – This website provides links to healthcare-related services, including trained and certified organizations that can help prepare health plan applications.
HRSA Data Warehouse – This U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website includes tools to locate programs funded by the Health Resources & Services Administration, including Federally Qualified Health Centers and Community Health Centers.
Eldercare Locator – Created by the U.S. Administration on Aging, this searchable database enables finding service providers for older adults in a wide variety of areas, from legal assistance to behavioral health.