Our local health and social service agencies continue to use collaborations as an approach to meet the escalating human care needs in our community. In both the for-profit and non-profit industries, collaborative efforts provide effective and more efficient use of available resources, resulting in better services for customers and clients.
Serving numerous clients with separate and independently run programs leads to higher operating costs. Many agencies, especially those with programs that have experienced federal and state budget cuts in recent years, have begun to form even more collaborations, leading to a decrease in duplicative programs.
Heartland Community Health Clinic provides health care to low-income adults and children in the Peoria area, and over the past two years, the number of patients they serve has grown from 849 to 6,857. To meet the continually increasing need for health care, Heartland has expanded its services to another location within Neighborhood House. This collaboration allows Neighborhood House to keep its clinic open for its clients and provide both United Way agencies an efficient way to reach a population that’s underserved.
Two more agencies are collaborating with Neighborhood House as a way to better serve their clients and consolidate expenses. These include the YMCA’s childcare programs and the Visiting Nurse Association’s Meals on Wheels program.
With the move to its new facilities in north Peoria, the YMCA was looking for an opportunity to continue serving their downtown clients who used the childcare facility. Neighborhood House, which is located near downtown and has a daycare facility, was able to collaborate with the YMCA and not only take in its childcare clients, but to also continue employing the YMCA’s childcare staff.
Since 1962, the Visiting Nurse Association has offered the Meals on Wheels program for the Peoria area. In December 2005, VNA consolidated this service with Neighborhood House’s home delivered meals program, which eliminates a duplication of services between the agencies and will better serve both agencies’ current and future clients.
Throughout 2005, the Heart of Illinois United Way has focused on the successful collaborations that exist between our United Way agencies and the community. Other examples include Proctor Home Care’s and Community Workshop and Training Center’s Lunch n’ Learn program that allows clients with disabilities to learn about health issues; the Heart of Illinois Homeless Continuum of Care that spans four counties and includes shelters and housing for the homeless; the Power Girls program offered by Tri-County (Peoria) Urban League with Carver Center and Counseling and Family Services that provides girls with computer training; and the legal aid provided by Prairie State Legal Services at Counseling and Family Services, the Center for Prevention of Abuse, Friendship House, and TCRC, Inc.
These are just a few of the collaborations taking place throughout central Illinois, and agencies are continuously finding new ways to deliver services while serving more clients with diminishing resources. IBI