We are proud of our staff and partners who are taking part in the Monroe County Systems Integration Project, which aims to establish connections between 300 local health, education and human services organizations by building technology and creating new relationships across sectors.

Under the leadership of the SIP, work is taking place across a diverse network of committed providers to build an interconnected, person-centered system of health, human services, and education supported by a unified information platform.  The goal is to improve the health and economic well-being of individuals and families, especially those who are vulnerable and/or impacted by poverty and to shift the way our community works together to better help individuals and families seeking support.

Earlier this year, CCSI staff and partners had the opportunity to used human-centered design principles to develop and test solutions to systems challenges.  Solutions were shared at a community forum held by SIP at Monroe Community College back in March. We asked each of the groups to share a little about their design projects, what they learned through the process, and next steps:

Enrico Fermi School 17 Resources App, Qawan Bollar, School 17 Site Coordinator
The participating School 17 team came up with the idea for an app that would support families by giving them direct access to the resources that they need in the community without having to physically go into the school and sit down with someone. Parents would be able to open the app at home, specify what they’re in need of, and then be redirected to a list of resources tailored to their needs.

The app is a way to simplify the process and make it both faster and easier, and it includes resources for food, shelter, clothing, domestic violence, and more. Everything on the app is also documented—so when a family submits a request, the app will notify the school and send updates throughout the process.

The app concept from School 17 ranked highly among the other concepts (6th out of 29) and has received a lot of positive feedback about the collaboration with community organizations the app involves. The next step for the team will be adding healthcare resources into the app, and they are looking forward to the benefits this concept could potentially provide the community in the future.

Home Base: Making Connections for Housing Stability, Ryan McIntosh, Manager, Homeless Services
Home Base was a collaborative prototyping project between Partners Ending Homelessness, YWCA, Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach, and CCSI that focuses on how to increase stable residence in permanent housing. Currently, people are oftentimes disconnected from services and not sure where to turn when they need assistance, and systems can be cumbersome and difficult to navigate. In addition, we know that housing instability leads to increased homelessness.

Our team conducted interviews with community members at locations across Monroe County including emergency shelters, recovery centers, apartment complexes, and lunch programs. We found that many people rely on informal support networks rather than on formal case management, for example. This pilot, if implemented, would allow for Coordinators to be stationed at community locations (Home Bases) across Monroe County. The Coordinators would be peers with lived experience navigating the systems to access and maintain stable housing. Peer services are available across other service sectors; however, there are no designated housing peers in Rochester. This pilot could help to address a critical need that would help people maintain stable housing and help to prevent the trauma associated with experiencing homelessness.

We are so proud that our prototype ranked very high among all the teams and was well-organized and focused, while providing good insights and analyses of data. We are looking forward to the potential next steps and learning how our prototype can positively impact our local community.

Monroe County Family Access and Connection Team (FACT) Family Lead Online Assessment Tool (FLOAT), Heather Starks, Program Director
FACT’s area of focus is to have families and youth lead the way, identifying how they want to access services and supports, so we created the FLOAT or Family Lead Online Assessment Tool.  Traditionally, those seeking services would call an intake line, and while this will continue, we are working towards providing an online version that would provide families the opportunity to complete the FLOAT.  This would guide us as we make assignments to our team to ensure a precision of fit.  The FLOAT then becomes the driving force for our assessment and planning process with the family and youth.

Utilizing the Human Centered Design Process we were intentional in creating our team to be diverse and inclusive, and as we developed the tool, we tested it with youth and families in the community, and utilized their feedback to make adjustments.  This work will continue.

Collectively our team felt that the Systems Integration Project was a stimulating experience, and created a broader experience of community for our team to see our interdependence and interconnectedness to one another and other agencies and organizations.

It is our hope that this is only the beginning of an ongoing dynamic partnership, and we are interested in ensuring more equity in the process including parents, youth, families, and the often excluded individuals who are the ones who can provide the most creative and durable solutions.

Stay tuned for future updates!