Congratulations to Community Action Marin for being 1 of 6 agencies nationwide to be selected to participate in the COVID and Safety Net Innovation (CASI) Technical Assistant Initiative!
The grant awarded to the agency, a collaboration between The Office of Community Services (OCS) and the Office of Family Assistance (OFA), was designed to explore the resiliency of Marin’s safety net in light of the COVID-19 pandemic; choosing Community Action Marin as one of the grant’s recipients based on the agency’s documented partnerships and their impact during this time.
“Marin County Social Services is very pleased to be partnering with Community Action Marin on this important opportunity. Our non-profit partners are essential partners because they can often parlay the trusted bond they have built with vulnerable communities into meaningful and sustainable change. This type of transformational change demands true collaboration between Government and CBO’s such as CAM, and this grant is an example of that.”
– Kari Beuerman, Social Services Director, County of Marin.
As one of the selected sites, Community Action Marin will receive training and technical assistance focused on designing and planning new approaches to strengthening the community’s safety net, including structured collaboration across community programs. The action plan that Community Action Marin and its partners devise will articulate innovative and responsive strategies to support low-income families, focusing on a specific, local safety net concern.
One of the challenges, as outlined by Community Action Marin’s Director of Safety Net Services, Laurel Hill, is that “people in Marin don’t know who to call for help, or what they’re eligible for.”
The group constructing the action plan will meet roughly every two weeks, with the goals being to:
- Increase awareness and access to services and improve service delivery
- Make accessing services easier, with groups sharing data so people don’t have to input the same information twice, and
- Enhance efficiency by improving communication between Community Action Marin and health and human services; sharing data, educating respective staff on services, and providing referrals
“The CASI grant will help us to remove barriers, create easier access to services, and strengthen partnerships. Ultimately it will help move people from crisis to thriving”, says Debbie Rogers, Success Coach Manager at Community Action Marin.
The COVID-19 pandemic has uncovered challenges in the American safety net while, at the same time, sparking ingenuity and innovation in how federal, state, and local programs support the needs of vulnerable individuals and families. Becoming a grant recipient in this scenario is just one example.