A file cabinet in the middle of office space in the Department of Social Services building is filled with folders and folders full of information regarding resources available throughout Sampson County.
The piece of office furniture is just part of the department’s Resource Center (HUB) which has been implemented as a means to offer assistance and assistance information to anyone who may be in need of help.
According to Roseann Brown, resource manager for the center, the entity works as a place people can go as a central location to gather information on the resources that aren’t provided through Social Services.
The center offers information on many different topics, from housing, food, utility assistance, substance abuse services, mental health services, prescription assistance, domestic violence, employment and child care to weatherization assistance for homes. Brown said these are just a few of the resource topics covered through the center.
“We provide our clients with the information they need to find the resources to get done what ever it is they need assistance with,” Brown explained. “We don’t provide the assistance, just the avenues to explore the resources.”
The resource center was established after social workers were being bombarded with questions about various resources clients would need to help provide assistance for families. Brown said that the social workers don’t have time to research the different resources available in Sampson County, therefore the center acts as that central location where anyone can come and ask for help finding assistance.
“Our clients come in and tell us what the problem is and we try to help,” Brown said. “If we don’t have the answer at that moment, we will look until we can find one.”
The center is open to everyone, Brown said. There are no limitations on who can utilize the services at the center.
In addition to steering their clients in the right direction, the center also offers computer assistance. There are two computers available for clients to use if looking for resources requires internet access. The center also provides assistance in completing resumes and job applications.
“For years, the DSS employees would have to take the time to find the resources and now the clients can come to us,” Brown said.
Brandy Jones, program manager, said the center idea came from the DSS director, Sarah Bradshaw, when she saw the need for alternative resources outside of what the local agency can provide.
“There are a lot of things Social Services doesn’t have available,” Jones shared. “The center is just an avenue that can be used to link our clients with the service and assistance they need. So many people need help and they don’t fall into specific guidelines mandated by the government. We can refer them to another entity whose guidelines aren’t as strict.”
Brown and her assistant Brenda Renteria have made visits to local health fairs and senior centers as a way to spread the word about the center, but Brown admits, their biggest advocate are the social workers who refer clients for assistance.
“The resource center allows us, as employees, to dig deeper into issues,” Jones said. “The case workers don’t have the time to research and find the exact resource someone may need, but the center does. Roseann and Brenda have more time to spend with the clients.”
Brown shared a story of one lady who came in needing help finding a job. When the resources the center has available lead nowhere, Brown said her assistant didn’t stop there. She called around to different restaurants, trying to help find the lady a job — and she did.
“This is just one of the many ways we can help,” Brown added.
The center is open Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. No appointment is necessary. For more information, call 910-592-7131, ext. 3286 or 3320.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.