ADvancing States’ National Information and Referral Support Center is pleased to announce the award winners for the Disaster and Emergency Preparedness and Response: Contest to Identify Promising Practices in Aging and Disability I&R/A Programs. The I&R Support Center launched this contest in March of this year to identify and disseminate promising practices that can help strengthen current and future disaster readiness and response within the Information & Referral/Assistance (I&R/A) field. Throughout the pandemic and a wide range of disaster and emergency situations, I&R/A programs have played a vital role in connecting individuals, caregivers, and families to needed services and resources.
- Atlantis Community, Inc. (https://atlantiscommunity.org/), a Center for Independent Living based in Denver, Colorado that serves a seven-county catchment area, was selected for the first place award. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlantis’ I&R/A program has been an anchor point for responding to the needs of community members, engaging with new and existing community partners, and fostering development of new programs in areas such as technology access, vaccine information, and emergency transition services. These efforts have benefited the organization and community, strengthening partnerships, generating trust, improving the skills of I&R/A staff, extending service capacity, and prompting greater focus on disaster preparedness.
- The Aging and Disability Resource Center - Hawai'i Island (https://www.hcoahawaii.org/) was selected for the second place award. Responding to the pandemic, the ADRC team developed and implemented a Person-Centered Emergency Planning Program that includes training, an individualized Emergency Planning Workbook and support in completing this workbook, and items to start personalized emergency kits. I&R/A staff have been instrumental in the success of the program, and the program itself can ease stress on the I&R/A program by fostering greater emergency preparedness in the community and strengthening connections to community resources and natural supports through the person-centered planning process.
- The Independent Living Center of Kern County (https://ilcofkerncounty.org/) and Disability Services & Legal Center (http://mydslc.org/), two Centers for Independent Living serving communities in California, were both selected for third place awards for Disability Disaster Access & Resources, a program of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers that is administered by participating CILs across the state. This program assists individuals with disabilities and older adults with access and functional needs during emergencies, such as Public Safety Power Shutoffs. I&R/A services provide important access and outreach connections to the program.
- Area Agency on Aging, Region One (https://www.aaaphx.org/), serving residents of Maricopa County, Arizona, was selected for a special honorable mention for the role of its Senior HELP LINE Information and Assistance program, which has served as the nexus of the agency’s COVID-19 pandemic response and the access point for critical pandemic response programs.
Thursday, May 5, 2022