COMING SOON: Strengthening the Safety Net

You might not have heard yet, but NCN is developing ANOTHER amazing resource. Our main goal is to identify and analyze current human services one stop center models and practices that elevate the service experience for clients.

Over the past couple months, I’ve been interviewing A LOT of folks at human services centers. The first question I ask in these interviews is: Does your center identify as a one-stop human services center? While some answer with an emphatic “YES! A THOUSAND TIMES, YES!” (or maybe just a simple “Yes”), many answers go something like this…


“Wait…what do you mean by that?”

“I call it that in conversation…but not formally.”

And every interviewer’s personal favorite:

“Hmmmmm…*LONG PAUSE*”

I know it may seem like I’m complaining about these answers, but I’m not. I promise! Since this question is so hard to answer, it tells me that there is a significant level of confusion about the topic. That is why part of this research will be to determine what exactly we mean by the term “one stop human services center.”  And, what is that definition you ask? Don’t worry. It will be in the Strengthening the Safety Net report.

In addition to this question, we were inspired to develop this research project by member feedback about the unique needs of human services collaborations and co-locations. Just like how definitions of “human services one-stop centers” vary, so do the needs of each human services center. And, this is a good thing! Each community and human service area is different. To provide services well, each center has adapted to those unique demands and challenges. For example, many centers have unique ways of running a central intake system. Other centers have clients that see it as intrusive or legally can’t share certain info they need. (In other words, HIPPA is super serious.)

At NCN, we think it’s incredibly important to dig down into these areas, because these are centers, and/or campuses, that are serving the most vulnerable in our society. We’re hoping this report can have positive ripple effects across the sector and help with tough issues but also celebrate some really innovative solutions.

While we are still collecting data, I continue to be impressed by how much work each center devotes to improving every aspect of the client experience. Keep your eyes on your email for the report launch in April!


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