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Alachua County Community Support Services

Annual Report

2011


From the Director To My Fellow Alachua County Citizens: FY 2011 was a year of challenges. Although Alachua County’s unemployment rate improved from 8.2% in January 2010 to 7.6% in January 2011, too many people remained jobless. The high unemployment rate resulted in large numbers of county citizens needing help. In the midst of increased requests for services, the Department of Community Support Services (DCSS) had to close the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) as a result of budget reductions. The RSVP was a historically rich service that provided services to the community for over 38 years; volunteers in FY 2011 alone provided 75,000 hours to local non-profit organizations. Yes, things were tough, but despite the challenges, DCSS staff, volunteers and community partners remained committed to providing excellent customer service to some of our neediest citizens. And this was done despite a mounting notion that being in “public service” was not a vocation to be proud of. Our employees are not only accomplished professionals in their respective fields, many of them volunteer their time, talent and services to other organizations outside of their work requirements, thus illustrating their commitment to public service and proving that their calling to their chosen field of work isn’t just because it’s their job – it’s their passion. Therefore, it is my privilege to share this FY 2011 Annual Report with you and hope that it will serve to better inform you about what we do and who we do it for. Our core programs and services focus on poverty & homelessness; counseling & related services to victims of crime; suicidal intervention to people in crisis; health care services for the working poor; helping veterans who serve our country and their survivors receive eligible benefits and services; providing support to at-risk communities to stabilize and revitalize their neighborhoods; and providing access to primary care and life sustaining medications through our prescription drug program. Finally, in looking ahead I can see that we’ll be confronted with even more challenges. As revenues shrink and needs increase we will continue trying to find new, innovative ways to adequately meet the needs of our fellow citizens. But whatever the issues and uncertainties ahead of us are, I remain sure and confident about one thing…DCSS will remain vested in providing excellent quality services to the residents we serve with dignity and compassion. As always, thank you for allowing us to serve you.

Elmira K. Warren, Director Department of Community Support Services

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Department Overview

Workforce • Employees: 66 • Volunteers*: 1,020

Department Director Cooperative Extension

CHOICES

Volunteer Impact • Hours Donated: 246,360 • Value of Hours**: $5,262,250

Department Divisions CAPP

Social Services

Crisis Center

PPC

* Volunteers include interns (including paid), work-study students, and paid volunteers. ** Volunteer Rate $21.36 (independent sector rate), this rate will be used throughout this publication for the calculation of the “Value of Volunteers.”

2011 Operating Budget - $18,739,850 FGP RSVP

Poverty Reduction

Other Special Revenue - Grants $1,111,808 - 6%

Victim Services

Special Revenue - CHOICES $8,480,925 - 45%

Unincorporated - MSTU $190,100 - 1%

Veteran Services

General Fund $8,957,017 - 48%

Investing through Partnerships • $909,875 contributed to the Alachua County Health Department for a variety of medical services for Alachua County citizens • $895,556 contributed to Meridian Behavioral Health Care to assist citizens in need of mental health services (Included is $100,000 provided by CHOICES funding)

State Mandated Services The state of Florida requires all Counties to provide the following unfunded services • Medicaid:.....................................$1,547,250 • Medical Examiner:.......................$727,600 • Child Protection Team*:..............$36,000 *Medical examinations for neglected and abused children

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Community Agency Partnership Program - CAPP As many as one out of four people encounter difficulties affording rent/mortgage payments, utilities and food. Many people have lost jobs due to the economic downturn we are experiencing. While the economy is improving, many are still suffering. Agencies who provide rental and utility assistance are receiving requests from people who have never had to seek assistance before.

Community Need Provide Food and Housing Assistance Adequate food and housing are essential to a community’s well being

Mission Statement

Action

The CAPP Program seeks to reduce the impact of poverty in Alachua County by contracting with nonprofit organizations for the delivery of lower-cost basic need services.

• CAPP partnered with 18 health and social service non-profits to deliver 28 poverty reduction programs in the areas of food, health/dental care and housing/utilities • 38,403 residents (15.5% of the population) were assisted through the programs • 238 children and their families (185 families) received emergency shelter/housing through three CAPP-sponsored shelter/housing programs. 81 of these children were in known domestic violence households

Division Stats • • • • •

Employees: 1 Total funds invested: $900,297 Contracted poverty reduction programs: 28 Number of contracted agencies: 18 Number of residents served: 38,403

success Success storiesstories Michael H. completed a long-term substance abuse treatment program and returned to Gainesville homeless and jobless. He was directed to a CAPP-sponsored program that provided shelter, meals and a case manager. With his basic needs being met, Michael was able to find a job and saved enough money to move into his own apartment. He continues with his job and is enrolled in Santa Fe College’s Nursing Program.

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Community Agency Partnership Program - CAPP Action

Community Need

• CAPP contributed $286,660 to health and dental care programs for lower-income residents Out of a population of 247,336, approximately 37% • 2,202 residents were served through the CAPP(91,514) cannot afford the cost of health care sponsored health and dental care programs. 600 of those were children and teens The County Commission recognizes that untreated health • Due to the health and supportive treatments conditions, including dental conditions, can severely impact offered by an adult day health center, 88% of not only the person suffering from them, but also their clients (frail, elderly and adults with disabilities) family and the community at large. Unchecked health were able to continue living at home

Support for Healthy Communities

problems cause time away from work, lost wages, children to miss or be inattentive in school, and often lead to other or chronic health conditions. CAPP formed partnerships with seven non-profit organizations providing health and dental care services.

2011 CAPP Agency Funding ARC ARC Epilepsy Foundaon FoundationofofFlorida Florida Children’sHome HomeSociety Society Children's Easter Seals Easter SealsatatAltrusa AltrusaHouse House Lazarus Restoraon Lazarus RestorationMinistries Ministries Florida FloridaOrganic OrganicGrowers Growers Interfaith Hospitality Interfaith HospitalityNetwork Network AlachuaCounty County Coalition Coalion for the Alachua the Homeless Homeless&&Hungry Hungry Planned PlannedParenthood Parenthood CatholicCharies Charities Catholic St. St.Francis FrancisHouse House Bread of the Bread the Mighty MightyFood FoodBank Bank Rebuilding Together Rebuilding Together North NorthCentral CentralFlorida Florida Gainesville GainesvilleHarvest Harvest PeacefulPaths Paths Peaceful UnitedWay Way United Elder Care Care of ofAlachua AlachuaCounty County ACORN ACORNClinic Clinic $0

$9,001 $10,801 $14,041 $14,851 $16,437 $20,701 $22,501 $22,501 $31,501 $33,751 $41,709 $54,002 $56,702

Supported in part by:

Alachua County, Florida

CAPP

Community Agency Partnership Program

$72,002 $94,685 $103,502 $117,806 $20,000

$40,000

$60,000

$80,000

$100,000

success Success storiesstories James had been exhibiting signs of what turned out to be prostate cancer. He had not seen a doctor because he lacked medical insurance. He saw an ad in the newspaper for a CAPP-sponsored facility close to his home and called for an appointment. Testing revealed the cancer, for which James was treated. His cancer is in remission and he became healthy enough to return to work.

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$120,000

$140,000

$163,804

$163,804

$160,000

$180,000


CHOICES Applying criteria approved by the Alachua Board of County Commissioners, CHOICES has grown by an average of 25% per year for the past two years. Over the course of close to seven years, CHOICES has provided preventive and primary medical care services to over 6,770 Alachua County residents. Although the voter-approved sales tax ended at the close of 2011, CHOICES has been authorized to continue serving the working uninsured of the County through 2013.

Community Need Reduce the Number of Alachua County’s Residents Without Healthcare Provide basic health coverage for the working uninsured

Mission Statement

It is easy to see CHOICES as a program that serves only the working uninsured, and the program does do that. In addition to the individual Alachua County resident who receives services through CHOICES, there are other individuals and groups who receive collateral benefits. Employers who cannot provide health coverage for their workers benefit from a more stable workforce that has routine primary care, providing lower absenteeism and turnover. Families that have children with health needs have a little more disposable income to provide that care. And the community benefits with fewer unpaid medical bills putting upward pressure on health insurance premiums.

To provide access to health care services for the working uninsured residents of Alachua County through innovative, cost-effective programs and provide health education and wellness initiatives for the benefit of the entire community.

Division Stats • • • •

Employees: 12 Applications processed: 4,147 Monthly applications: 346 Total membership: 3,950

CHOICES serves individuals, but it benefits so many more.

Action CHOICES Primary Care Benefits include: • Routine primary care physician visits • Prescriptions • Basic dental care • Limited specialist physician services

success Success storiesstories Ms. T is a single mother of two who lost her health insurance when her employer had to move her to part-time work due to the economy. Over the next several years, she rarely received care as she stopped regular physician visits and began using the local Emergency Rooms for only the most serious health problems. A neighbor suggested she apply for CHOICES coverage. The neighbor knew several residents of the area who were part of the CHOICES Program and got regular physician care and drug coverage. Ms. T went to the CHOICES office and completed an application. Three weeks later she was approved for the program. She reestablished going to her physician and was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). CHOICES covered her doctor visits and necessary medications. Ms. T said, “Having CHOICES was a big relief. I was able to see the doctor just in time. I was diagnosed with first stage COPD and was able to get the medications needed, all thanks to CHOICES.”

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Cooperative Extension

Sustain a Profitable and Competitive Agricultural Community

Agriculture is a $797 million economic industry in Alachua County. Ag producers and consumers receive research-based information from the UF/IFAS Alachua County Extension Service, the only source for this information in the County.

Improve healthy lives, economic success, and youth development

Action

Community Need

• Alachua County Master Gardener volunteers developed the Honor Center Gardens, which has improved the lives of homeless and transitional veterans by creating a healthy green space • The Family & Consumer Science Agent is participating with the Twenty Pearls Foundation of Alpha Kappa Sorority and Plum Creek Foundation where families are provided with a bag of ingredients to take home and prepare with a suggested menu. Fifty families were enrolled in the program • The Ag and Natural Resources Agent implements the Florida Master Naturalist Programs. The program consisted of eight classroom sessions and three field trips • Alachua County 4-H Summer Day Camp Program offered 15 programs, reaching 608 Alachua County youth. Topics included: electricity, natural resources, skills for life, sewing, and animal science • Over 450 educational programs were offered in the areas of agriculture, horticulture, financial management, pesticide continuing education, best management practices, Green Industry Best Management, ServSafe Certification, healthy lifestyles, natural resources, and youth development

Mission Statement The Alachua County Cooperative Extension Office partners with communities to provide quality, relevant education and research-based expertise to foster healthy people, environments, and economies.

Division Stats • • • • • • •

Employees: 9 Volunteers: 330 Volunteer hours: 18,034 Value of volunteer hours: $385,206 Total educational contacts: 83,519 Educational programs offered: 450 Phone calls: 5,911

success Success storiesstories The 4-H Embryology program reached 942 students in Alachua County. Teachers reported an increase in students’ skills of observation, critical thinking, cause and effect, and concern for living creatures. One teacher stated, “My class had a great time with the whole process. We not only learned a lot about the developing embryo, but we also checked out books and learned many interesting facts about chickens. We did charts, kept a chicken journal, and they are now working on making a chicken book of their own with all the facts they learned. I loved doing this project and I hope I can do it again next year!”

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Crisis Center Economic concerns and emotional distress among our citizens continue to mount while available community support and resources diminish. The need for accessible and affordable suicide and crisis intervention and shortterm counseling services provided by the Alachua County Crisis Center continue to be a vital component in our community’s “Safety Net.”

Community Need Help for Those Experiencing Crisis or Suicidal Thoughts in Tough Economic Times The need for suicide and crisis intervention services increases as continuing economic distress touches many of our citizens

For 43 years, the Crisis Center staff has been available 24 hours/day by phone and face-to-face to offer crisis and support counseling to anyone in our community in emotional need.

Mission Statement To participate in the solution of any human problem through emotional support, education, counseling, and crisis intervention, whenever and where ever it occurs in Alachua County.

The most recent national and state statistics indicate that: • Suicide is now the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the eighth leading cause of death in Florida • There are now more suicides than vehicle fatalities each year in the United States • It has been suggested that 2% of the American population will take their own lives

Division Stats • • • • • • •

Action

Employees: 5 Volunteers: 115 Crisis counseling phone calls : 55,368 Volunteer hours: 41,800 Value of volunteer hours: $892,848 Presentations and trainings: 158 Face-to-face counseling hours: 5,360

• 3,702 new clients were offered counseling services • Over 5,000 hours of crisis counseling were offered to individuals, couples, families, and groups of citizens in emotional distress • Over 10,000 community residents attended workshops or presentations by the center on suicide and crisis intervention training and awareness • Over 50% of our emergency crisis intervention outreach responses (CARE Teams) are in response to a law enforcement request for assistance following a traumatic event or sudden death in the community

success Success storiesstories The Crisis Center received a cry for help from an emotionally and physically battered suicidal Crisis Center volunteers take a break from working with woman in need of counseling services. She spoke citizens in distress in order to “connect” during their annual only Spanish and had no family or friends in Florida Fall Retreat in 2011. who could offer her support. The magnitude of the abuse included her being threatened with the loss of her child and her relative isolation from all others. Following a series of counseling interventions, all offered in Spanish, we engaged a variety of other community agencies including the county’s Victims Services program, the Sheriff’s trauma unit, local spouse abuse services, and the University’s intimate partner violence program. Through our combined counseling and legal interventions, today this mother and her daughter are reunited and safe from the violence that had trapped them for many years.

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Foster Grandparent Program Community Need Academic Success for Special Needs Children Children who have special or exceptional needs, such as learning disabilities, physical challenges, or behavioral issues, need the extra attention and encouragement of caring adults to succeed in life

Mission Statement mission statement

The Foster Grandparent Program matches low-income volunteers aged 55 and over with Pre-K and elementary school children who have developmental, emotional, physical, social, or medical challenges, in order to increase opportunities for them to succeed, while providing challenging and rewarding experiences for the volunteers.

Division Stats • • • •

Employees: 2.5 Foster grandparent volunteers: 107 Volunteer hours: 100,130 Value of volunteer hours: $2,138,777

More than 8,000 children served by the School Board of Alachua County have one or more special or exceptional needs, according to Exceptional Student Education Student Services. In addition, the Early Learning Coalition received more than 2,000 requests for resources or information regarding children who have or may have special needs in child care centers and/or served by other agencies in 2011. These children, without assistance, frequently fall behind in school, and have higher high school dropout rates than those without special needs. Foster Grandparent volunteers receive a small stipend to provide mentoring and tutoring to these children.

Action Last year, 121 Foster Grandparent volunteers mentored, tutored, and assisted more than 200 children in over 40 schools, early learning centers, and after-school programs. Ten special needs students at the Boys and Girls Club, Girls Place, and the City of Gainesville after-school programs were assigned to Foster Grandparents. At the end of the school year: • 83% improved in social skills and peer interactions • 83% improved in study behavior Foster Grandparents worked with 120 special needs students in 17 elementary schools. At the end of the school year: • 77% improved in appropriate classroom behavior • 77% improved in reading and/or math skills 82 special needs children were assigned to foster grandparent volunteers in 19 early learning centers. At the end of the school year: • 76% of the children over age two improved in at least three areas of development • 90% of the children under age two improved in at least three areas of development

success stories

Success stories

Grandma Turner has been working with two boys in my Kindergarten classroom, specifically on writing their names. One of the boys, AJ, is doing great. He came to school in August not knowing how to hold a pencil and he writes his name correctly most of the time now. He is now 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. We are so excited for AJ!

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Partners for a Productive Community Partners for a Productive Community Program (PPC) is a collaborative neighborhood-based strategy developed to engage communities in need and to empower them to take charge of their neighborhoods with the assistance of government and the private sector. In the Southeast, residents of Hammock Oaks, Greentree Village and Celebration Oaks have requested assistance in starting a neighborhood organization, implementing measures to deter crime, and beautifying their neighborhoods in an effort to improve the quality of life for residents. In the Southwest, the Southwest Advocacy Group (SWAG) and the SW Preservation and Enhancement District have worked diligently to facilitate the rehabilitation of a building purchased by the Board of County Commissioners. This building will soon house service providers for 7 targeted neighborhoods that are in dire need of services. With the assistance of PPC, these communities are working with community partners to develop strategies that will fill gaps in local services, maintain their neighborhoods, and revitalize their communities.

Community Need Revitalizing Alachua County At-Risk Communities Building community organizations to address neighborhood needs

Mission Statement mission statement

The mission of Partners for a Productive Community is to reduce the impact of poverty through community revitalization, provide Prevention and Intervention Programs, and address education and economic concerns of residents in at-risk communities.

Division Stats

Action

• • • • • •

• In SE Gainesville, PPC organized community meetings in 3 neighborhoods, performed neighborhood cleanups, and conducted presentations to citizens informing them of various services offered by Alachua County such as Fire Rescue, Public Works, Waste Alternatives, and Citizen Emergency Response Team • Organized a faith-based partnership to collaborate as a resource site for children and youth in Gainesville’s SE communities. Programs offered at the site include Project Manhood 2015, Girl Scouts, and an afterschool tutoring program

Employees: 1 Volunteers: 79 Number of volunteer hours: 700 Value of volunteer hours: $14,952 Donation amount: $9,540 Dollars reinvested in the SW Preservation and Enhancement District: $32,796.12

success Success storiesstories Partners for a Productive Community Program worked with three neighborhoods in a depressed area in Alachua County that needed assistance with numerous community problems. The PPC Program Manager organized community meetings to speak with residents about their concerns involving numerous home invasions, open air drug sales, overgrowth of their retention ponds and traffic patterns that put community members at risk. PPC staff engaged Public Works to address traffic patterns with new traffic signage and to tackle the issue of overgrowth around retention ponds in order to keep it safe for neighborhood children. Law enforcement patrols increased, numerous partners participated in a neighborhood cleanup, and a faith-based organization started a Girl Scout troop for young girls. “This is the first time we’ve had anyone care about our community,” said one long time resident. The Partner Program is continuing to work with these communities to build a strong stakeholder organization to maintain and enhance their neighborhoods.

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Poverty Reduction Program In July of 2010, the Poverty Reduction Program brought to the Implementation Committee for the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, the issue of homeless persons who had been discharged from local hospitals but were not yet fully recovered. While the hospitals were providing nursing home or rehabilitative care to homeless patients who needed these services, there were still instances of patients being discharged who would briefly need only sanitary housing with access to food, refrigeration for medications, bathroom facilities, telephones, and someone to check on their condition. Successful Medical Respite models from around the country were reviewed by a group that was assigned the task of developing recommendations to the BOCC and City of Gainesville Commission to address this problem. A recommendation was developed in collaboration with UF/ Shands, North Florida Regional Medical Center, the Florida Department of Health (DOH), the Alachua County Coalition for Homeless and Hungry, the Office on Homelessness, and interested citizens.

Community Need Provide Medical Respite Care For Homeless Patients Discharged from Area Hospitals Providing temporary and appropriate housing for recently discharged but not fully recovered hospital patients

Mission Statement mission statement

To address critical issues related to poverty in Alachua County by engaging public and private entities to identify aspects of and types of poverty, including causes, mitigation and solutions of various facets of poverty.

Action

Division Stats • • • • •

• In June 2011, the BOCC and City of Gainesville allocated $5,200 in funding for a 6-month pilot project of Medical Respite Care, as recommended by the Implementation Committee, for 2 beds reserved at Saint Francis House (SFH) for this purpose. • In September 2011, the 2 area hospitals, SFH, and the DOH, along with City and County officials, initiated the respite care services.

Employees: 2 Advisory boards: 1 Phone calls: 4,119 Volunteer hours: 1,500 Value of volunteer hours: $32,040

success stories

Success stories

A 56 year old homeless person who had been hospitalized at Shands for infection related to COPD participated in the Medical Respite program. He had been a selfsupporting tanker truck driver until a wreck and explosion damaged his lungs. That disability led to the loss of his capacity to continue such work, and he began the slow economic downhill slide familiar to so many who find themselves homeless. His health deteriorated further, until he was hospitalized. After treatment at Shands, he was discharged to St. Francis House where he had hot meals, a place to rest safely and store his refrigerated antibiotic medications, as well as access to the services of DOH’s Medical Home Program. DOH also helped him gain access to a local attorney who is assisting him appeal his Social Security Disability claim denial. While he has had to return to living in a tent, he has explored occupational training available at Santa Fe College, is keeping his COPD condition under control, and has hope of establishing a regular income stream so he can become housed once again. Medical staff involved in his care believe that he could not have recovered from his hospital stay as well as he did without the services provided to him through the Medical Respite Care for Homeless Persons pilot project. Establishing the collaboration among multiple agencies that together can make a difference, but singly could not, is the hallmark of the Poverty Reduction Program.

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Retired & Senior Volunteer Program RSVP is the nation’s largest volunteer network for people aged 55 and over. Drawing on the skills, knowledge and experience of this group of people has made Alachua County a better place to live. RSVP members volunteer at 37 different sites in the County.

Community Need Supplement Service Providers’ Demands Connecting volunteers 55 and over to meet critical community needs

Action

Mission Statement mission statement

• 368 retired and senior volunteers donated their time to 37 community and governmental agencies • 243 Meals-on-Wheels lunches delivered daily by RSVP volunteers • Five RSVP volunteers were nominated for the prestigious Annual Work of Heart Award. These awards are presented annually to outstanding Alachua County volunteers • In remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s commitment to serving the community, over 100 RSVP and Foster Grandparent Volunteers joined together to make blankets for the homeless for MLK Day

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) provides volunteer opportunities to community members aged 55 and greater to help create quality communities in Alachua County.

Division Stats • • • • •

Employees: 2.5 Volunteers: 368 Volunteer hours: 75,237 Value of volunteer hours: $1,607,062 Number of volunteer sites: 37

success Success storiesstories Due to significant budget cuts at the federal level, sadly, Alachua County was unable to renew its RSVP grant. The program’s 38 year history and its volunteers were honored by Alachua County in a farewell event at the new Senior Center on September 26.

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Social Services Low income residents must choose daily how to best spend their limited funds. Many residents are forced to choose between taking care of their basic needs and obtaining affordable health care. Families struggle to pay for housing, food, and daycare costs and are often ill-prepared when an emergency arises, such as illness. When forced to seek medical assistance, many turn to the Emergency Room which results in higher incidence of avoidable ER visits, hospital stays, unmanaged chronic illness and, in some cases, death. Frequently, these individuals will continue to seek primary care at the Emergency Room because they lack a permanent medical home and are unable to pay for doctor visits.

Community Need Improving Access to Affordable Health Care Services for Low Income Residents Low income and unemployed/underemployed residents are unable to afford health care which results in higher incidence of avoidable ER visits, hospital stays, unmanaged chronic illness and, in some cases, death

Mission Statement mission statement

Action

To serve as a safety net and to enhance the health and productivity of low income Alachua County residents by providing information and referrals, access to health services, and short term financial assistance.

Through Social Service’s health services programs: • 981 residents received free primary care services they would not be able to otherwise afford • Saw more than 4, 981 clients • 7,031 prescriptions were covered, valued at $233,147 (most prescriptions filled are for chronic conditions such as heart disease) • 153 residents approved for eye exams and/or eyeglasses allowing them to improve vision, drive safely and look for/keep a job • $366, 469 in prescription costs saved by citizens using the NACO (National Association of Counties) Prescription Drug Discount Card

Division Stats • • • • •

Employees: 7 Clients served: 4,981 Phone calls: 29,631 Volunteer hours: 595 Value of volunteer hours: $12,709

success stories

Success stories

Mr. T had been able to work until recently when he had a stroke that left him confined to a wheelchair and with significantly impaired eyesight. He and his wife were then forced to live off of her limited disability income, leaving them barely enough money for basic essentials, like their past due rent, and funds for the many medications that Mr. T needed to take in order to prevent him from having another stroke or a heart attack. They were forced to make tough choices. The funds they were spending on Mr. T’s medications was the money that was meant to be used for rent, food and gasoline for the vehicle they drive to get Mr. T to his medical appointments. Social Services assisted Mr. T in paying for his life-sustaining medications as well as paid for him to get an eye exam and eyeglasses to improve his vision. The family was also approved for rent assistance to keep them in their home which greatly reduced the couple’s emotional and financial stress.

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Veteran Services Through one-on-one interviews, County Veteran Service Officers help veterans and their families navigate numerous paths in an effort to attain earned aid and benefits. There are up to 27 different identified paths to pursue. Figuring out the proper forms and documents to submit for each filing can be a daunting task. With our specialized education, training, and experience, we provide counseling, education and advocacy. We work closely with the veteran and/or surviving benefactors, to ensure that benefits and awards sought will establish, maintain and potentially improve the overall quality of life for that individual or family. Services include but are not limited to: Re-education, Aid and Attendance, Pension Claims, and Burial Benefits. We conduct traditional office visits through appointments, walk-in assistance in emergent cases, nursing home/assisted living facility visits, home visits, and telephone calling and conferencing.

Community Need Assist Veterans Make the Transition from Active-Duty Military Services Applying specialized knowledge to assist Veterans in successfully transitioning back into the community after having served active duty

Mission Statement mission statement

Advocate and provide support and assistance to veterans, their families and survivors in filing for benefits earned as a result of their military service.

Action Division Stats

• Planned, coordinated and executed the Annual Veterans Day Celebration in conjunction with the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center • Helped plan and conduct two Homeless Veterans Stand Down events • Participated in Breakfast on the Plaza helping distribute care items to homeless veterans • Participated in the Annual Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance • Our Service Officer was the Keynote Speaker for 9-11 Remembrance Day • As the FDVA Accredited Representative for Alachua County, we are proud that Alachua County received over $2.14 million in new benefits last year; plus over $1.6 million in retroactive payments and another approximate $74,000 in debt relief

• • • • • •

Employees: 3 Volunteers: 6 Volunteer hours: 1,050 Value of volunteer hours: $22,428 Phone calls: 17,938 Office visits (citizens provided services in office): 1,629 • Outreach visits (home, nursing home, or other visits): 281

success Success storiesstories This year we had the distinct opportunity and honor to serve a veteran who was suffering from many challenges in life brought on by her combat deployment and subsequent multiple disabilities. This particular female veteran was returning from the Middle East suffering from multiple mental health issues. These issues had placed her in a very hopeless and precarious position. We were able to partner with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Gainesville to obtain 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. Having overcome these challenges, she greatly improved her quality of life and rediscovered the power of her own personal responsibility.

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Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center The lifetime costs of victimization are high; this is true in part because trauma can lead to a variety of debilitating problems, and leaves victims vulnerable to engaging in damaging coping behaviors. Alachua County Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center mitigates these costs to victims and the community by providing services to help victims heal and re-empower themselves. Trained victim advocate counselors respond to crime scenes and hospitals. The program provides targeted short-term counseling and information about trauma to help victims understand and cope with reactions caused by crime. The Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center assists with filing victim compensation claims that pay for medical bills, lost wages, and therapy for all victims of violent crime, and support for dependents of homicide victims. The program offers participation in the criminal justice system by informing about the process of prosecution, their rights as crime victims, and how to exercise those rights. Staff accompanies victims to court events (testimony, deposition, and trial) to provide connection and support in an environment that primarily protects the rights of criminals, not victims. In addition to these direct services, the agency educates citizens about abuse and crime, risk reduction, and available services.

Community Need Help Crime Victims Recover From Trauma Provide emergency outreach, counseling, support groups, court accompaniment, court case updates, information about the criminal justice system, and assistance filing for victim compensation

Mission Statement mission statement

To diminish the impact of sexual violence and facilitate recovery to victims and survivors of violent crime

Division Stats • • • • • • • • • •

Employees: 10.5 Grant dollars received: $269,249 Volunteers: 5 Volunteer hours: 7,314 Value of volunteer hours: $156,227 Total services provided: 20,442 People reached through awareness events: 5,000 Victims served: 4,579 New victims served this year: 2,152 New sexual violence victims served this year: 362

Action • • • • •

2,851 counseling sessions provided 1,562 victims assisted with Victim Compensation 3,491 telephone contacts made with victims 4,635 occasions of advocacy 247 occasions of outreach

success Success storiesstories

A young woman sought our services about how to handle the aftermath of a rape. A male co-worker had raped her several months ago. She admitted her behavior was very different over that time – she was withdrawn, depressed, fearful and irritable with friends and family, had nightmares, and was unable to concentrate. Her first concern was safety. Our advocate helped her get information about sexual harassment from the County Equal Employment Office, Victim advocates create awareness of sexual told her what to expect if she chose to report to law enforcement, violence by painting the 34th Street wall with and informed her of the steps involved in obtaining a sexual violence rape statistics. injunction. Her employer was sympathetic to the perpetrator and did not immediately take action to protect her. The woman negotiated the perpetrator’s removal with the employer after being informed about her options in civil and criminal courts. She felt empowered enough to return to the job she loved. Her second concern was learning how to cope with the sexual trauma reactions she had been living with. She spent time in counseling looking at how she had changed after the rape, and how she would like to live her life. She learned to acknowledge her feelings and reactions and accept them as survival skills. Over time, the woman resumed going out with friends to socialize, felt more comfortable setting boundaries, and was getting along more effectively with her family. Her nightmares began to subside, and she was able to again claim her life back.

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Department of Community Support Services 218 SE 24th Street Gainesville, Florida 32641-7516 Tel: (352) 264-6700 TDD: (352) 955-2449 Fax: (352) 264-6703 cso@alachuacounty.us www.alachuacounty.us/css

Cooperative Extension 2800 NE 39th Avenue Gainesville, FL 32609-2658 Tel: (352) 955-2402 TDD: (352) 955-2406 Fax: (352) 334-0122 http://alachua.ifas.ufl.edu/

Community Support Services 2011 Annual Report  

2011 Annual Report for the Department of Community Support Services

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