Community Hub offered by Palatine coalition looking for more service providers

  • Nancy Mendez started working Jan. 10 as the first part-time navigator for the Community Hub offered by United Palatine Coalition.

    Nancy Mendez started working Jan. 10 as the first part-time navigator for the Community Hub offered by United Palatine Coalition. Photo courtesy of Nancy Mendez

 
 
Updated 1/21/2022 7:42 PM

An effort to connect Palatine-area service providers and organizations so they can more effectively serve people in need has taken a major step with the hiring of a part-time navigator.

Nancy Mendez started Jan. 10 as navigator for the Community Hub offered by United Palatine Coalition.

 

The Community Hub is a centralized way for service providers to share information about their clients and keep track of their needs to help them address whatever challenges they might face.

"We are trying to be proactive, not reactive, to people's problems," said Anne Campbell, community impact facilitator for the coalition.

For example, a client of a mental health agency also might need housing, food, clothing or rental assistance. In that case -- if the client agrees to releasing limited information following federal HIPAA privacy guidelines -- the agency can use the Community Hub to help connect the client with other agencies, Campbell said.

Mendez, who speaks English and Spanish, will work to expand participation into the Community Hub and help service providers maximize their benefits. So far, 16 agencies have joined the Community Hub. The goal is to reach 20 by March 31.

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The coalition received two, back-to-back $100,000 yearly grants from United Way of Metro Chicago, which paid for Mendez's salary as well as the case management software CharityTracker, the confidential tool used to share information among agencies.

Mendez also works as youth pastor for a Spanish-speaking church in Wheeling. She called the Community Hub an "amazing tool."

"If we can all come together and use it the way it's meant to be used, it will make everyone's job easier and will help facilitate people getting the help that they need," she said.

Formed in 2016, United Palatine Coalition is a partnership of nonprofits, schools, local governments, faith communities and health organizations that has the overarching goal of ensuring equal access to opportunity and equity within the community. Campbell's was the only paid position until Mendez's hiring.

Palatine can be described as "resource rich and systems poor," coalition board member Mike Thompson said.

"The (local) agencies and government organizations have lots of resources -- financial and other -- that they are throwing at all kinds of things -- the schools, the library -- but we don't work together very effectively. That's where the coalition can help."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The goal at inception was to reduce or eliminate by 2025 the achievement gap between students from low-income families and students with means, certainly "a long-term mountain to climb," Thompson said.

In 2018, the coalition and the Northwest Educational Council for Student Success organized a conference spotlighting poverty in the suburbs. One-fourth of children in the Northwest suburbs belonged to low-income households and lacked resources to address their needs, experts said.

Coalition Chairwoman Laura Swanlund works as director of comprehensive mental health and related services for Palatine Elementary District 15. The coalition holds regular meetings for its partners, who are organized into work groups, and sends newsletters to alert of services, informational sessions and other opportunities for their clients, she said.

"All of our work is trying to make life better for people," Swanlund said. "That's what we are doing."

For more information about the Community Hub, visit upcoalition.org/general-5 or email nmendez@upcoalition.org. For general information, email info@upcoalition.org.

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