An assistance program that’s considered to be the first of its kind in the state got underway locally this week.
The new Service Navigators of BV program has gotten underway. Navigator staff members will be available at the Storm Lake Public Library once a week to help connect residents with the resources they may need. The program is offered Monday afternoons from 3 to 5pm. The Navigators will primarily work to connect people with the appropriate services and resources for their needs.
The service is available free of charge, and is funded by the University of Iowa in cooperation with the local SALUD multicultural health coalition. Five navigators have completed or are in the process of certification for the program, which is aligned with the new SALUD Community Health Workers effort including Di Daniels, Emilia Marroquin, Selynna Butler, Cinthia Balandran and Andrea Taylor.
“Often people don’t know all of the services that are available, where they are located or how to access them,” Cinthia said. “They may need help with basic applications. Sometimes people just need encouragement, someone to sit with them when they make that call.”
The Storm Lake Library recently hosted a social worker in the library program, but grant funding was only available for a short time. The Service Navigators are meant to fill that void and can help in areas including seeking health or mental health care, day care, food resources, available housing, insurance, and other needs or paperwork.
“We’ve been trying to put ourselves out into the community, to reach people from all walks of life,” Andrea said. “The library is an ideal place to locate services. It’s a well-known, central location that people see as a very safe, welcoming space. It’s the public’s library – people know they won’t be asked to pay or buy anything.”
Appointments are not needed for Service Navigators. Two of the Navigators are bilingual. The program aims to have available translators as needed in other languages. The pilot program has been funded for a full year. SALUD hopes to see the program continue to grow beyond the pilot year.
(Pictured above…Service Navigators of BV providers Andrea Taylor and Cinthia Balandran began the program’s in-library service this week)