Community Connection: Human Resource Coalition plan update |

Community Connection: Human Resource Coalition plan update

Twenty-four health and human service agencies work tirelessly every day to help Routt County residents to achieve and live their best lives in this valley. 

As a coalition of health and human service agencies in our community, the Human Resource Coalition has a three-year plan to make progress on the most basic and dire issues in our county.  We are currently halfway through the plan and would like to report to the community the progress being made, as well as some of the key issues we are focusing on.

We have five primary areas of focus:

  • Basic needs: Every resident has the basic need for food, housing and transportation.
  • Early childhood education: Children have the right to early childhood education.
  • Youth development: Children get access to positive youth development experiences.
  • Community safety: All residents should feel safe from domestic and sexual violence, suicide ideation and other safety issues.
  • Physical, behavioral and mental health services: Being healthy both emotionally, socially and physically leads to a quality life.

Multiple agencies engage people who struggle in the most basic of services such as transportation, housing assistance and food insecurity. Children, families, adults and seniors are all supported through agency shuttles, rent assistance, local food banks, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — or SNAP — and other emergency assistance.  Many efforts, including the Routt to Work program, support residents through curriculum that has proven to have real success in helping individuals and families achieve financial self-sufficiency.

Early Childhood Education supports our young children in their critical learning years, to set them up to have a successful school career and life.  The state has increased the Colorado Preschool Program and Child Care Assistance Program tuition assistance in Routt County so that more families can apply for assistance.  Call First Impressions of Routt County for more information at 970-870-5270.  To learn more about these issues, attend the screening of “No Small Matter,” at 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Chief Theater with free dinner and child care.

A new initiative called “Communities That Care” involves several youth agencies in determining key risk factors for youth and developing a plan to minimize those factors and increase positive factors.  Vaping, bullying and opioid abuse prevention are all high on the youth development agency’s after school and summer programming. 

The collaboration produces high-quality summits for both parents and youth.  Mark your calendar for the third annual Parent Connection Summit, featuring Dr. Laura Markham, a nationally known speaker and author, at 8:15 to 2:25 p.m. Nov. 15 at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs.

Our community safety nonprofits are working tirelessly to provide innovative programs to increase safety for all residents. Advocates of Routt County has increased training for high school students, athletic teams and bartenders on sexual assault. Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide — or REPS — continues to provide key training in how to recognize signs of people considering hurting themselves. Court-Appointed Special Advocates has expanded their case load in Routt County.

There are also new trends in health care in our county to help residents live healthier lives.  Phase Based Care, or the ability for a patient to see multiple providers at one visit, makes sense in a small, rural county. The annual Wellness Conference will be held at The Steamboat Grand on Nov. 1 featuring keynote Frank King, the mental health comedian. Contact REPS to register.

And each of these focus areas are not isolated. For example, when Northwest Colorado Health surveyed their clients, 40% said food insecurity was an issue in their household, illustrating how financial insecurity can be a determinant to health.  Every cause is connected, and being able to look at the whole picture, while focusing in on identified issues, is very important. The Human Resource Coalition is supported by community, city and county dollars, and every dollar makes a difference in the lives of our residents through the good work of our health and human service organizations in Routt County.

Kate Nowak is the executive director of Routt County United Way and facilitates the Human Resource Coalition.

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