Twenty-six health and human service agencies throughout Routt County spent the past nine months collaborating on the new Human Resource Coalition’s three-year plan to move the needle on critical mission areas.
Emerging out of a once-in-a-century pandemic, the health and human service community clearly sees the needs of our community. The economy, workforce, housing, transportation, and the influx of new residents all play a part in the health of our residents. This plan is designed to affect all generations in all Routt County communities. The entire lifecycle, inclusive of our diversity, will be served.
There are four mission areas we will focus on basic needs, health and safety, early childhood, and youth. Each team was asked to provide a vision, goals, measurement, and supporting data. The team started asking the vision question: “If we met all needs of the issue or demographic the outcome would be …”
The data used was as local as possible and addresses the question: “Why are we not at the vision yet?”
The goals were tough to narrow down due to the multifaceted, complex nature of our residents. However, we prioritized those goals that were crisis in nature.
In basic needs, we want to decrease food insecurity, increase transitional housing, advocate for more transportation routes and increase self-sufficient learning. To enhance our healthy community, we want to increase access and capacity to mental health resources, increase safety for at-risk populations, decrease death by suicide and increase awareness and access to services for victims of violence.
The challenges in early childhood education are many including increasing equitable access to quality home visitation, increasing systems to support friends, family, and neighbor care, increasing the quality capacity of an infant, toddler, and preschool care, and retaining and increasing quality staffing.
For youth, we want to decrease risky behaviors of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs and decrease the need for high-level interventions, such as treating depression or suicide ideation.
Studies show that students on free and reduced lunch have lower academic success than other students, so we want to focus on academic equity. Finally, we want to increase our youth-serving organizations’ capacity to be able to accept any youth that wants to participate in our programming.
Using an inclusive and broad collaborative process, the goal of this planning project is to maintain a process that results in a dynamic, accessible, coordinated, communitywide, human service delivery system effectively addressing the needs of Routt County. The plan, including our guiding principles, can be found at RouttCountyUnitedWay.org/partners.
Kate Nowak is the executive director of Routt County United Way.