Mayor Tom Henry today announced plans for a social service agency summit, a vision he discussed during his campaign for office.
“Our community is truly blessed with so many organizations and programs that want to reach out and help people, whether that help be in the form of food, housing assistance, financial aid, healthcare, parenting support or other need,” Mayor Henry said. “The challenge is how to communicate among all those organizations, large and small, to try to ensure the best way to deliver the services to the people who need them most.”
Since May, the steering committee, headed by Janet Chrzan and Jerry Peterson, has been pouring over maps with various sorts of information: income level, service providers, service recipients and more, trying to get an understanding of the big picture of where the most need is, where the help is, and how it is provided.
“With the analysis tools and resources offered by the City, the committee was able to get a good grasp of the service provider and service needs landscape,” Chrzan said. “We are now ready to test some ideas and gain guidance from some of the experts in social services delivery in our community to determine how to make the whole delivery system more efficient.
The committee decided to invite social service agencies to a summit, set for December 5, where they will share what they've been studying and seek additional input. Prior to that meeting, the group is sending out requests for information on what services are provided by which agencies with the intention of compiling a list of the most current information to use as a resource to analyze gaps in the existing network of providers.
The committee is made up of Janet Chrzan (Leadership Fort Wayne), Jerry Peterson (United Way), Jonathan Ray (Fort Wayne Urban League), Terri Noone (YWCA), Frank Zirille (Wellspring Interfaith Social Services), Kirk Ray (St. Joseph Hospital), Rev. Dr. Larry Merino (Holy Cross Lutheran Church and School) and Fernando Zapari (El Mexicano newspaper).