Community Support Services 1st Quarterly Focus 2012 “Strike out Hunger “ 2011 in Alachua County.
Alachua County Partners Programs collected over 67,000 lbs of food to help feed the hungry through local Food Pantries
Statistics The Department of Community Support Services responded to 37,253 phone calls 44,287 volunteer hours were donated to help Alachua County citizens through the Department of Community Support Services Social Services provided healthcare services to 128 clients CHOICES enrollment at the end of the quarter was 4,031 307 clients were seen by Veteran Services Counselors through in-office appointments, home visits, and visits to assisted living facilities 94% of clients assisted through the Division of Social Services maintained housing after 90 days An estimated 478 citizens were impacted through Social Services’ Rent and Utility Assistance Program 7,528 prescriptions were filled by CHOICES An average of 6,141 residents saved an estimated $82,161.90 on prescriptions with the NACo Prescription Discount card Crisis Center staff and volunteers engaged 2,586 citizens this quarter
Unpaid counselors donated 10,300 hours of services to the Crisis Center to keep the Center open 24/7, 365 days a year 6,092 Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center services were utilized this quarter Cooperative Extension office served 10,595 citizens in the areas of Agriculture, Family & Consumer Sciences and 4-H Youth development. In addition, 230 educational programs were offered in these areas.
19 Cremations were provided by Social Services at a cost of $8,800.00 9 burials were provided by Social Services at a cost of $7,300.00 $5,477.65 Non-Ad valorem dollars were reinvested in the Sugarfoot P&E district for neighborhood revitalization $774,820 was spent on Medical, Dental, Vision and Pharmacy benefits for CHOICES participants
Issues Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center received notice of the availability of 2012-2013 VOCA Grant Funds. The program's 2011-2012 VOCA grant award was slightly decreased from the 10-11 grant cycle. If the program continue to experience a decrease in the VOCA grant award it may possibly equate to the loss of one or more advocate counselor positions. Social Services has received an estimated 19,000 calls to the Customer Support line during the first quarter. As the economic crisis escalated increasing the costs for housing, food, gas, etc, the demand for services appears to have increased also. Social Services is fielding more requests from a number of first time callers and return callers alike as citizens struggle with unemployment, reduced work hours, housing (rental and mortgage) demands, high utilities, and related impacts. It is significant to note, that during this 1st quarter, elementary through high schools students began a new year and it is at this time, many parents are forced to choose between school/parental responsibilities and paying for rent and food. Although, the division was successful in handling approximately 1/3 of these calls utilizing its current staff, additional requests for services will require additional funding to meet the demand for services specifically that of rent, mortgage, utilities, and health related services. Social Services has reduced the number of persons served to ensure that we operate within the allocated budget. It appears that the demand for services, based on previous years expenditures, exceed the allocated budget. In order to ensure that the division stays within the allocated annual budget, we have temporarily restricted the number of persons given assistance during this 1st quarter. Other steps that we have taken to ensure appropriate budget management, includes changes to length of certification (AlachuaCares)to three-months vs 6 months which will allow the division to strategically manage services without temporarily ceasing services; and reducing the number of prescriptions from 10 to 5; and temporarily reducing the length of Prescription Certifications from three months to 2 days. All of the above-mentioned are temporary measures and are being monitored. In addition, Social Services has required that all AlachuaCares Enrollees participate in Indigent Drug Programs aka Pharmacy Assistance Programs, whereby eligible persons receive prescriptions free of charge directly from the manufacturer. Veteran Services Despite filling of vacant counselor position and progress made in catching up on backlog of client contact, daily telephone and walk-in traffic continue to be problematic due to volume and workload. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that approximately 30,000 returning veterans from the current conflicts will arrive for treatment in the NoFL-SoGA VA Healthcare System starting in March 2012. These veterans will need further care in the way of Veterans Services which will impact our office. Medicaid billing Possible changes to Section 409.915, F.S. Medicaid billing . Could mean an increase in Medicaid cost of 5 million dollars. The changes to current law are considerable and will significantly increase the county share of cost for Medicaid inpatient hospital services. In FY 11, we saved nearly 5.3 million in erroneous Medicaid billings due to our ability to review, contest and deny faulty billings. However, it appears that the referenced proposed changes would preclude our ability to do any of that and we would be compelled to pay what was billed. Right now this is â€œfor information onlyâ€? and to alert our system about the proposed changes. However, weâ€™ll continue monitoring the issue.
Department’s Impact Stories Social Services Ms D has a life-threatening medical condition and limited household income. Ms. D states she was in the hospital on 9/18/11 with a heart condition and severe asthma condition, which resulted in her being put on medical leave of absence without pay. Ms D’s income (Husband’s SSI benefits) is within 150% Federal Poverty Level. Ms. D stated that due to her current medical condition she has to be on oxygen 24 hrs/day, which has caused her utility bill to be extremely high. Ms. D stated that along with all her medication costs and not working at this time she was unable to pay her high utility bill. Social Services was able to help Ms. D keep her utilities connected. Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center - On the last work day before the Christmas break a victim called the program hotline and was agitated and abusive to staff. The caller was disabled, a survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence and had a traumatic brain injury. Her speech was slow, slurred, often she was incoherent and her thought pattern was confused. She was agitated and angry because she had been calling community resources (not Alachua Department of Community Support Services) asking for help only to be turned away or denied. It seemed the tone of her voice, pattern of speech and thought processing caused listeners to assume she was intoxicated and/or under the influence of drugs. Allowing the victim to speak at her pace and comfort level revealed she was concerned about the expected drop in the temperature and only wanted a coat, - used and/or worn did not matter. Further conversation determined she was in need of personal hygiene items: tooth brush/tooth paste, shampoo, bath soap, hair comb etc. The victim was given a sexual assault care kit, which contains personal items, a new pair of shoes, new underwear, and a new coat was purchased. All was taken to her before the office closed for the Christmas holidays. Cooperative Extension - Currently there are 1092 licensed pesticide applicators in Alachua County. The difference in wages with and without a license is estimated at $6400/year (Hodges et. al., 2011). The overall economical impact of the pesticide certification program in Alachua County is $6,988,800. This program helped 1,092 individuals keep their jobs and potentially increase their pay. Currently 650 individuals are reported to be employed in the landscaping and grounds keeping industry in Alachua County (2010 State of Florida Agency for Workforce innovation, Occupational Employment Statistics (http:// www.labormarketinfo.com/Library/OES.htm). The average entry-level pay wage estimated in 2010 for landscapers and groundskeepers was $8.27. Assuming the worker received a pay increase once they became certified to $10.82, which is the 2010-estimated wage for experienced landscapers in Alachua County, the worker could potentially increase their salary by $5,100 annually. The overall economical impact of this program in Alachua County is $3,315,000. 5.The Master Gardener Class graduated 25 students that will use their horticultural training to work in the community to share landscaping and gardening information to improve the quality of life in Alachua County. These 25 students are expected to volunteer 75 hours of service in horticultural outreach in 2012. Many will exceed this goal. Veterans Services assisted a veteran who was suffering from many challenges brought on by her combat deployment and subsequent multiple disabilities. Due to her mental disabilities as a result of combat, she was in a very hopeless and precarious position. Partnering with the Department of Veterans Affairs, we assisted her in obtaining transitional housing, treatment, and (in three weeks) a monthly pension. Due diligence by both our new Veterans Counselor and the veteran, provided the Department of Veterans Affairs the appropriate information to expedite this homeless veteran’s claim to a quick resolution. All of this greatly improved her culpability as well as her quality of life. Community Partnerships’ Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) Louise Turner, a foster grandparent at Stephen Foster Elementary, has been assisting two boys in Else Hitt’s Kindergarten classroom, specifically on handwriting. Ms. Hitt reported that due to “Grandma’s” dedication to helping him, one of the boys, AJ, is doing really great. He came to school in August not knowing how to hold a pencil and he now writes his name correctly most of the time. He is also completing his seatwork on his own and is so proud of himself. He came to school not knowing any letters or letter sounds. Now he can name 16 letters and knows 12 letter sounds.