SIKESTON -- In response to dissatisfied clientele and churches in town, a new cooperative resource council formed to better address the needs of the community.
"Less than a year ago, we got some feedback people were not being taken care of and their needs were not being met," said Area Resource Council chair Toni Dee.
Many of the social services agencies, church and public safety departments found they were seeing the same people with the same needs, Dee said.
"It kind of developed from there," she recalled.
Another issue is the homelessness.
"We were having a lot of transients -- not residents of Sikeston or Miner -- going to churches and saying they need food or lodging or gas for the car so churches were getting a little pressed. And it's not efficient or economical to stay in a hotel," said Dee, who worked for the Salvation Army and was an officer for 15 years.
The local agencies got together and decided to form a cooperative effort that encourages working together to help those in need by more efficient use of the funds they have, Dee said.
"We've come up with, we hope, a fairly new program to help the agencies stay in touch as well as to start a new program of referrals to agencies," Dee said.
Years ago a similar council formed but later went defunct.
"Then through the initiative of Sikeston Ministerial Alliance, the group started getting back together again and came together as a council in May," Dee said about ARC's formation.
The new council has met for several months and put together an updated plan of taking care of clients, Dee said.
"When someone first goes to an agency, we want to make sure they're not having other problems we can't take care of. They're going to be screened, provide identification, their Social Security number and casework numbers if part of DFS," Dee said.
Once the initial screening is completed, they can be helped by that agency or be referred to another agency for assistance.
"We want to get to the point where every agency is serving their clients. If they can't, we want them to to refer them to an agency that can," Dee said.
Participating agencies include Sikeston Department of Public Safety, Miner Police Department, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, Bootheel Food Bank, Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corp., Guardian Angel Overnight Shelter, Mission Missouri, Department of Social Services-Family Support Division and the Salvation Army.
"Any agencies that feel they can help us out with any needs are welcome," Dee said.
The council is also putting together a directory of agencies for assistance in working with other agencies, Dee said.
"We basically wanted to facilitate the idea of getting people through the system without a lot of curves," Dee said.
Meetings, which are open to agencies, are conducted the fourth Monday of the month. For more information, contact Dee at firstname.lastname@example.org or one of the participating agencies listed above.