Wednesday, February 18, 2009

February 2009 News

Residential Services Grants

One way that HSS serves people with developmental disabilities or mental illness is through our Residential Services Program. We own and operate nine apartment buildings throughout the county, providing 57 units to low-income disabled people. Each tenant is provided with wrap-around supportive services based on individual needs. Additionally, HSS supports other individuals who live in their own homes or commercially available apartments, providing case management and skill building services. Between these two programs, HSS works with over 70 people.

Recently HSS received a 15 year grant valued at $85,000-$95,000 per year from the Illinois Development Authority that will help HSS with the costs making its apartments affordable to low-income disabled persons. This limits the rent the tenants pay to 30% of their income. HSS was previously using local tax dollars for this purpose.

Also, HSS has just received a Permanent Supportive Housing grant to allow it to expand its services to people with mental illness who live their own homes. HSS staff will be able to go into the community and provide supportive services that will help these individuals remain independent and in their own home.

New Services for Seniors

Human Support Services has teamed up with its counter-part in Randolph County, Human Service Center, to expand community services to seniors needing assistance due to mental health or dementia concerns. The service will start with an in-home assessment by a counselor specializing in senior issues. Depending the results of the evaluation a variety of in-home services can be provided including case management to help link the recipient with local services, skills education services to help the primary care giver learn effective behavioral and therapeutic techniques to assist the needy senior and nursing visits to help with psychiatric medication and nutrition. This service will be able to work with individuals who have a primary mental health need, such as depression, or a loss or functioning due to dementia, Alzheimer’s or other condition. For many individuals there will be no cost for these services. For those that do have a fee, a sliding scale will be used to keep fees affordable.
Anyone interested in learning more about this new option should contact the Human Support Services Clinical Director, Kim Pennock at 939-4444.

New Shrink-wrap Machine

Through a generous gift from the Employees’ Community Fund of the Boeing Corporation, HSS was able to purchase a new shrink-wrap machine for use in the agency’s sheltered workshop. This machine will allow the agency to seek packaging contracts to secure small items within plastic film. It is expected that this equipment could keep 4-6 client workers busy.

The sheltered workshop serves up to 60 adults with developmental disabilities or mental health needs daily. The client workers learn good work skills and behaviors while earning a real paycheck. HSS is constantly searching for contracts from businesses that can keep our client workers on the job, learning and earning. If your business needs shrink-wrap packaging, give HSS a call.

New PCs for Computer Lab

One of the Day Services classes provided by HSS to adults with developmental disabilities or mental illness is a Computer Lab. In this class clients are taught basic computer skills. They are able to learn to use email, surf the internet, can play popular computer games and listen to music under the supervision of HSS staff.

Clients had been using 5-8 year old PCs that were originally donated by the Boeing Corporation. Thanks to two unexpected gifts from the community HSS was able to take $5,400 and purchase ten new PCs and flat panel monitors. Two of the monitors are oversized for clients with visual limitations.

Day and Work Services Manager, Erin Fuson, reports that clients have really enjoyed using the brand-new PCs.

HSS Employee Of The Month

Human Support Services named Thomas Jackson Employee Of The Month for January 2009. Tom, from Waterloo, has been with Human Support Services for four years. He is a skilled maintenance employee who helps maintain the Agency’s residential and support facilities. Tom was recognized for stepping in to be Santa Clause at the client’s Christmas Party when our regular “Santa” volunteer was unavailable. Tom will receive a gift certificate, and a day off with pay.