Community Resilience and Recovery Initiative: Final Evaluation Report. Lessons Learned

03/27/2014

The collaborative partnership model of CRRI established a structure for Lorain's PRIDE that brought the mental health, substance use, FQHC, and public schools in closer collaboration and established lines of communication and cooperation that will remain. The screening and direct contact outreach has impacted all the partner agencies and was a strong tool for deepening community knowledge. Similar approaches might yield similar benefits in other communities.

Projects like CRRI can provide critical financial resources for basic services that are entry points for assistance to families in crisis. An important contribution of PRIDE to the Lorain community was having the funds to rehire the team of the public health nurses who had been laid off by the city health department before PRIDE began. These nurses provided the most effective direct contact outreach and recruitment for PRIDE. Unfortunately, near the end of the grant, they were facing further layoffs, but their role in PRIDE was invaluable.

Using JOBS graduates as volunteers had a double benefit for the community. Not only did it expand the outreach component of PRIDE, but it also offered important volunteer experiences for those needing an on-the-job-training experience. This model could benefit other communities. Conversely, some services, such as family strengthening programs, required too much time commitment from people who perceived their primary problem was unemployment or underemployment.

Lorain worked with vulnerable and under-represented persons who faced more chronic hardships related to unemployment. The project focused on empowerment and participatory methods to engage effectively with this group of service recipients. In addition, the African American faith community has been permanently impacted by PRIDE, specifically through the involvement of minority community leaders in the JOBS program, but also more generally through the heightened knowledge of community-wide resources. Lorain's innovative outreach to minority communities and faith-based resources was an asset of this project.

Training in new evidence-based services was possible due to the CRRI funding. There are new service capabilities in the Lorain community as a result of this project. Similar allocations of resources such as funding, advisors, and consultation could be useful in other communities for facilitating and supporting the improvement and transformation of local service delivery systems.

A decentralized model like the one in Lorain created some challenges for the overall evaluation of the PRIDE program and it would not be encouraged again in future projects. The evaluator reported that the software package used for data collection was fine, but because so many agencies were involved, there was too much room for human error. Moreover, there was no easy way to impose order on the process since the reporting structure for the program was similarly decentralized. The attempts to collect standardized data in a timely way were ultimately unsuccessful.

As at the other two sites, PRIDE staff learned that the JOBS program did not carry the same stigma as behavioral health supports; as a result, it proved to be an effective portal for some participants to enter into behavioral health services. We believe this to have been an inadvertent innovation of CRRI, but certainly one that is replicable in other settings.

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