One-stop shop needed for agencies

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 6, 2006

Following Hurricane Katrina, evacuees who came to Dallas County seeking assistance found out what those here already knew – going from agency to agency to get help that is needed can be overwhelming.

With service agencies such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Edmundite Missions and others at various locations, those in need of help sometimes found the system difficult to navigate.

The current set-up is especially hard on those who don’t have a vehicle.

Following the hurricane, the city administration got involved in the effort to provide such a location. Officials with the local service organizations have sought such a set-up for a while.

Currently, the Blackbelt Homeless Coalition is conducting a count of homeless in the area.

The count will continue through Feb. 10, and the results could help provide a “one-stop shop” for those with needs.

The count will be used to obtain funding for a homeless shelter.

A shelter could be used as a one-stop family resource center, designed to help people with all their needs – all under one roof.

The idea springs from the Children’s Policy Council of Dallas County with the United Way as the fiscal agent and initial administrative entity.

Grants are presently being written to either build, buy or renovate an existing building that is large enough to be used as a homeless and emergency shelter and house representatives from various organizations.

If you know of someone who is homeless, call Jeff Cochran at the United Way at 874-8383.

Providing a one-stop shop is essential to efficiently helping those in need in Dallas County.