Throughout the pandemic, First Step Family Support Center has continued to offer their existing services with safety modifications as well as expand to offer programs addressing the urgent and changing needs of families. First Step received $75,000 through Olympic Community of Health’s 2021 COVID-19 Response Fund. First Step's COVID-19 response projects are making a difference in Clallam County by addressing financial strain, improving vaccine equity, helping community members get connected with the appropriate services, and providing technology support.
Project Outreach— Outreach workers connect with families to assess needs and offer resources, referrals, and immediate access to concrete goods and services such as diapers, wipes, infant formula, clothing, grocery gift cards, phone and data minutes and fuel gift cards. To date this program has served over 600 families and has provided over $43,000 in goods and services to families in Clallam and Jefferson Counties including:
Over $30,500 in grocery gift cards
Over $5,400 in diapers
Over $2,000 in phone and data minutes
Family Stabilization Fund— These funds are available to families in Clallam and Jefferson Counties and provide low-barrier funding to help stabilize families. These grants have provided funding for items such as needed home appliances, vehicle repairs, clothing to access employment and other needed goods and services that will support family stabilization. To date this program has served 224 families and has funded over $47,000 in goods and services.
Vaccine Equity— This program partners with the county health department and other community organizations to support equitable vaccine access, address vaccine hesitancy and provide creative solutions to encourage vaccine acceptance.
Program Manager Elisia Anderson shared, “Our first vaccine pop-up event […] was the most successful pop-up event to date in Clallam County by double, according to the health department. In addition to the funds awarded to us by OCH, we have been able to secure funds from All In Washington to support vaccine equity work. We are connecting with various community partners to support vaccination efforts, pop up events, incentives, education and outreach.”
To date this program has directly provided 73 vaccines during one pop up vaccine event, with several more upcoming events planned.
Family Navigation Services— Our bilingual family navigator supports families in accessing services and referrals. For many families completing applications to access COVID relief programs such as rental and housing assistance, utility payments, immigrant relief funds, Medicaid etc. is daunting. Our family navigator walks them through the processes, helps complete applications and interfaces with other agencies to support families as they access needed supports. This program serves families in Clallam and Jefferson Counties. To date the family navigator has served over 75 families.
Technology Support— Access to virtual programming can be a challenge if a family does not have access to appropriate technology. We have purchased 10 tablets that are available for clients to borrow short or long term so that they are better able to engage with virtual services such as support groups, parenting classes, home visits and telehealth.
Keep up the great work, First Step!