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I am a medical student currently on rotation at a health clinic in Huntington, IN, and I am researching which local community resources are available for a low-income individual (mother of 2 young children) who needs financial assistance for housing, food, clothing, and healthcare. She needs assistance with transportation and also suffers from domestic abuse from an ex-husband. Which local community resources do you recommend?
Thank you

          Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box.  We think you’ll understand that we have no knowledge of specific community resources in Huntington; but we can offer some comments on a more general systems level.
          We think situations similar to the one you describe are found not only in Huntington, but also nationwide. And that suggests the desirability of having some standard protocol for dealing with them.  Specifically, your clinic should have (1) an accurate and updated list of relevant resources in your area, with contact people and contact information, and also (2) standard policies and procedures for responding to people who present with multiple needs, such as the person you describe. How are needed services decided upon and arranged? And who decides and arranges them?
         What might be your own role here? As a medical student on rotation, you presumably may not have a long-term commitment to this clinic.   But you can help establish the resource listing above (#1), to the extent it might not exist already. And if it does, you can work toward establishing agreed-upon policies and procedures (#2 above), perhaps together with other clinic staff. By so doing, you could be making a lasting contribution, going beyond the help you might give to a single patient.
           A next step after that would be for those standardized policies and procedures to be discussed, and, with modifications, adopted by all relevant local community agencies, so that the process for securing resources is clear and coordinated for all key resource providers in your community. You might also consider some evaluation of new procedures adopted, so that you and others could be guided by data on their effectiveness.
           This is of course a larger endeavor, but perhaps worth considering together with other agency representatives, as part of an inter-agency team, if such a system is not already in place. Someone in your position could at least plant the seeds for its getting started.
           We hope these thoughts may be useful to you.  Thanks again for writing, and all best wishes as your important work proceeds.

Question Date: Sun, 09/11/2022