by Nicole St.Charles, WCU Social Work Graduate Student
As social work graduate students, Olivia’s and my field practicum requirement brought us to Kairos West. With a month under our belts, we still have to remind ourselves that at Kairos West, being is more important than doing. What can I say – we’re students; we are trained to do!
Our top priority has been to familiarize ourselves with the myriad local resources available to those living on the streets in our community, and anyone else who might be seeking anything from transportation and housing to childcare and dental services. What we’ve learned thus far is that the information about these resources is scattered. If you’re not sure where to look or who to ask, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the search before it even starts.
Our question: What’s up with that? There must be a better way.
We’d heard through the grapevine that there was once a book with all of this information in one place – a holy grail of resources organized by category, with a description and contact for each – and we went on a bit of an odyssey to track it down.
But alas, this book was nowhere to be found – and trust me, we did our homework. NC 2-1-1, Health and Human Services, The Family Justice Center, RHA (and probably many more that we didn’t even know to contact) all had the same message for us: The information for these service organizations, and the organizations themselves, are constantly changing – just as soon as you get it printed on pretty pamphlets, it’s old news! It requires constant maintenance, causing service organizations to shy away from the feat. So, what’s that about? Why does this information change too quickly to keep up with? We asked around, and found a basic consensus.
So, here’s the thing –
- Funding is a whirlwind! The funding of government agencies and nonprofits is fluid and they may not be able to allocate funds today for services they’d provided yesterday.
- Movin’ on up – and down. This same funding phenomenon, coupled with nonprofits’ constant fluctuation in size, sends these organizations searching for spaces to grow into or to downsize in – changing their address.
- Who you gonna call? Reallocation and dissolution of funds also affects the positions and roles within these organizations. Less funding could mean that a role is dissolved altogether and their responsibilities redistributed to other positions – changing contact information for services.
A complex set of obstacles, to be sure, but is there a better way? Stay tuned for more on the subject, or comment with your thoughts/ insight/ any relevant experience!