In the summer months, our fertile farmland floods our markets with fresh produce. However, with school not in session, many of the more than 24,000 food insecure children in Lancaster County go hungry. Even during the school year, those children lack an adequate supply of healthy meals outside of their school lunches. Their parents are possibly working several low-wage jobs as part of the 50% of individuals and families who are paying gross rent greater than 30% of their household income.*
By the year 2025, we have challenged our community to decrease the number of individuals and families living in poverty by half. This goal is BOLD -- but not impossible if we're willing to fight for it. Together, we can create lasting systemic change through improved education, better jobs and good health. Here are some examples of progress:
- CaseWorthy is a human services database software that is planned to expand countywide with the help of Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County (CAP). Our Collective Impact Partnerships will use CaseWorthy; the idea is to have one universal point of entry for all health and human services in Lancaster County. That means when a client's information is entered into CaseWorthy by CAP, a caseworker can access the system and already see the client's information. This system will greatly improve efficiency for both agencies and individuals; caseworkers won't have to complete lengthy intakes over and over and can see in the system the progress of that individual, which will save individuals a great deal of "agency time," i.e. hours of waiting rooms and reptitive questioning.
- Reunify, Empower, Prevent (REP) combines the foster care system with homeless service providers. Led by CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Lancaster, REP helps parents experiencing housing difficulties and/or homelessness regain and maintain custody of their children, and always works to stabilize young adults who have aged out of the foster care system -- who would often become homeless due to lack of resources -- to secure the housing, education, and employment necessary for self-sufficiency.
- Elizabethtown Area Hub serves its community by raising awareness of and providing access to local resources and programs. They hope to make stronger connections between all agencies and service providers in Elizabethtown to better serve the needs of the community. During the 2017 tax season, with the help of the Hub, United Way of Lancaster County's VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program filed 349 returns, earned Elizabethtown residents $420,889 in refunds, and saved them $94,458 in tax preparation fees.
- Lancaster County Coalition to End Homelessness and Elizabethtown Community Housing and Outreach Services (ECHOS) partnered together to address a gap in homeless services in the Elizabethtown area. Together, they opened the first winter shelter in 2015 at St. Paul's United Methodist Church.
*Housing Market Analysis, Summary of Findings; Zimmerman/Volk Associates, Inc. (2013)