In the Community
Resources757: A one-stop shop for family supportNovember 09, 2020
When a family facing homelessness in Hampton Roads needs a place to stay, parents may also need help getting food, health services, or educational support for their children.
According to industry leaders, until recently there had been no single database for housing and human service agencies to find comprehensive resources to help families in need.
Through the collective efforts of the regional EVMS Minus 9 to 5 organization, families and service providers now have a one-stop shop for support: Resources757.org.
EVMS Minus 9 to 5 – an early childhood organization that addresses health and education issues affecting area families – was chief convener for a large swath of groups that helped launch the special resources website in late 2019.
The Hampton Roads Community Foundation incubated Minus 9 to 5 and continued to provide grant support after its launch. The initiative transitioned to being affiliated with Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2018. Its work ranges from promoting infant safe sleep and good health to improving early education and encouraging kindergarten registration.
For the Resources757 initiative, EVMS Minus 9 to 5 leveraged the knowledge of its community-based workgroups and connected with family support organizations. Among them were the Housing Crisis Hotline, ForKids Inc., The Planning Council, Kiwanis Children’s Council and Kids Priority One. The Resources757 website is operated by ForKids, which also runs the Housing Crisis Hotline. It is a free, online resource anyone can use.
“We were the engine that kept driving it through, pulling everyone together to make that transition happen,” says Jane Glasgow, executive director of EVMS Minus 9 to 5. “We changed the way that our region looks for resources and data. It’s more than just a static database. They’re constantly updating it.”
The project was two years in the making, but worth the effort, says Thaler McCormick, CEO of ForKids.
“For us, Resources757 is a wonderful extension of our Housing Crisis Hotline. It is an important connector to making sure everybody in the community can have a central resource to access services,” she says. “It helps to reduce frustration and eliminate bureaucracy by having it all in one place.”
A 12-person hotline team updates the website that includes information from community service providers. Information easily translates on the website from English to 11 languages. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the website saw a significant uptick in listings and usage.
“It’s still a work in process, but the pandemic has just highlighted how needed a central repository is for services,” McCormick says.
Before the pandemic, there were fewer than 70 resources listed. Now there are about 400 unique resources. Site usage increased by 252% during the pandemic, and 1,500 users visited the site in the first five months of 2020. Staff members have referred Housing Crisis Hotlines callers to $12 million in COVID-19 resources listed in the website database.
The site helps service providers direct clients and also is a central place to share their own helpful services. Thanks to the website, callers to community-based agencies are more knowledgeable about help that is available, McCormick says.
“Minus 9 to 5 deserves a lot of credit in persevering to make this happen,” she says of launching Resources757. “Because of them we have a terrific and improving resource every day.”
Visit Resources757.org for information and support.