Service Coordination – What Does It Really Mean?

Caroline And Bill

The Haven provides food, shelter, educational programming, service coordination, and other resources to people struggling with poverty. The term “service coordination” can be puzzling and is sometimes not well understood by those outside the field of social services, yet it is a major part of what we do at the Haven. What does it mean exactly? What does a Service Coordinator at the Haven do?

A Service Coordinator is a person with clinical training and work experience to understand both the stated needs of people and the patterns and behaviors that help or hinder their ability to develop and make the changes they want to accomplish. A Service Coordinator is the main point of contact for an individual or family that is receiving support from the Haven. The Coordinator’s role is to help people identify goals, barriers, next steps, and solutions. Service Coordinators are well versed in local, state, and national programs created to support individuals and families in poverty, and help connect people with these resources.

The way in which a Service Coordinator provides support depends on the individual’s needs—for example, they may simply provide contact information so that the individual can follow up on their own or they may be more involved and at the individual’s request, they may participate in a phone call to help navigate complex systems and circumstances. They may join people in meetings with other service providers or go with them to medical or legal appointments.

What is on a Haven Service Coordinator’s agenda on a typical work day? Here’s a partial snapshot. Each “to do” item is associated with a current guest in the Haven’s adult or family shelters, or a community member:

  • Housing applications
  • Drug/alcohol abuse and treatment discussion
  • Department for Children and Families intervention
  • Birth certificate application
  • VT Chronic Care Initiative connection
  • Pet relocation
  • Financial assistance for prescription and transportation
  • Social Security Disability Insurance application
  • Social Security replacement card application
  • Visiting Nurse Association coordination
  • Vocational Rehab inquiry
  • Resume help coordination
  • Probation and parole communication
  • Long-term care application
  • Discussion about planning and choices for the future

In June 2016, Haven Service Coordinators assisted 405 community members.

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