Collaboration & Coordination of Storm Response
The first major winter storm of 2014 was also the first opportunity for the current leaders of the County, the City of Charlotte, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to plan, communicate and coordinate a storm response that ensured the community was as safe as possible.
From the County's perspective, Homeless Services opened its warming station at the Hal Marshall Annex as soon as the storm approached and temperatures dropped. Between Tuesday and Thursday, hundreds of folks took advantage of getting off the street and having a place to warm up.
At the same time, Park and Recreation canceled programs and began the huge task of trying to clear snow and ice from County parking lots.
Behind the scenes, I was in constant contact with City Manager Ron Carlee and CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison, coordinating and updating our responses. We held multiple news conferences, distributed numerous joint releases and emails, constantly updated our social media channels and remained accessible throughout the event. Our ability to work together demonstrates the joint commitment of all agencies in the midst of emergency situations to ensure the safety of the residents in our community.
For more information about how to receive real-time emergency information from CharMeck Alerts, the County's emergency management notification system, go to www.charmeckalerts.org Health and Human Services HIV/AIDS Open Houses Planned for February
Mecklenburg County will offer a series of community forums next month to promote County services available to those with HIV and AIDs. The series will be called “Mecklenburg County Health and Human Services Open House," in partnership with the Mecklenburg HIV/AIDS Coalition. The events will provide information on County services and programs and will be held at three County sites over the first three Thursdays in February.
Open House locations & dates are:
• Thursday, February 6, 5-7 pm - Hickory Grove Recreation Center in Hickory Grove Elementary School, 6709 Pence Road
• Thursday, February 13, 5-7 pm - Naomi Drenan Recreation Center, 750 Beale Street
• Thursday, February 20, 5-7 pm - Clanton Pavilion, 3132 Manchester Drive
Participating County departments include the Health Department, Community Support Services, the Department of Social Services, Child Support Enforcement, and the Provided Services Organization's CADRE Program.
Light refreshments will be provided.
If you have any questions about the open house events, please contact Rebecca Herbert, BSSA Business Manager via email
or call 704-336-2628. Community Leaders Set Two Year Priority List to Address Domestic Violence
A meeting last week of the Domestic Violence Community Leadership Team (DV CLT) provided participants with an opportunity to review progress and success on previous projects, and to set new community priorities going forward.
The DV CLT agreed to the following priority areas for the next 18 to 24 months at its meeting on January 21, 2014:
• Supervised Visitation & Safe Exchange (SVSE) Center Planning and Implementation: Creating a place where families can safely meet for visitation or exchange that will reduce risk for children and the domestic violence
• Prevention with Youth Focus: The trend data since 2005 shows a steady increase in the number of students reporting dating violence and sexual abuse.
• DV Perpetrator Focus: Focusing efforts to hold a domestic violence perpetrator more accountable for their behavior is key to reducing domestic violence incidents.
Nearly 60 attendees at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center meeting represented local governments, human service agencies, nonprofit organizations, the courts and law enforcement. The DV CLT originated in 2007 when the County Manager convened the team to develop a vision for preventing domestic violence, and to address and prioritize the gaps identified in the Domestic Violence Report. Membership consists of County department leaders and community partners. This team has focused its work around heightening public awareness about domestic violence, focusing on prevention and early intervention and seeking community involvement and leadership.
As a result, the community has a data warehouse that helps identify statistics related to domestic violence and provides data for the Domestic Violence Index; a speaker’s bureau; a new 80-bed domestic violence shelter; and a model NC DV Fatality Review Team.
Next steps for the newly identified priorities for 2014 through 2016 include creating task teams to address each priority, and ensuring diverse agency participation on each task team. The teams will develop a strategic plan to address the priority area and include what support is needed from community leaders.
Board members with questions about progress toward developing the task teams should contact Community Support Services Director Stacy Lowry at 704-336-3784 or via email
. New Beginnings Program Transition Update
Work continues on the transition of New Beginnings, the displaced homemakers program, from a County operation to a community contract vendor service-delivery model.
Plans are underway to create a Request for Proposal that outlines what Mecklenburg County Community Support Services requires of a potential vendor. An RFP is expected to be posted in March with the goal of selecting a vendor by April. Specific dates and other RFP details will be shared as work on the project continues.
Program staff shared the update with members of the New Beginnings Program Advisory Committee on Jan. 22, 2014, the final meeting of the volunteer group. New Beginnings provides training, counseling, educational opportunities, job connections and other employment-ready services.
In the Nov. 22, 2013 Board Bulletin, the item “Exploring Options for Employment Program Affected by State Cuts
” explained the situation and the change needed for New Beginnings. State funding for all displaced homemaker programs in North Carolina ends June 30, 2014. As a result, the program cannot continue in its current form. County dollars in the program’s budget cover salaries for two full-time County employees. The operating budget, and the grant-funded salary of a third program staffer, comes from state money.
Board members with questions should contact CSS Director Stacy Lowry at 704-336-3784 or via email