disaster relief

Community Resource Database Development

VISTA Name: 
Marilyn Taylor
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

In January 2004, RECA undertook the organization, management and maintenance of the on-line database 4People.org for Benton and Franklin counties. 4People uses VisionLink’s Tapestry online software, to post community services, calendars, and volunteer information in 19 rural counties in eastern Washington. They have successfully identified over 4,500 services in this rural area and placed them online for the public to get help when needed.

Current agencies are using the case management system to reduce the number of homeless, reduce the number of uninsured, and coordinate and maximize services between faith based organizations in 19 counties in eastern Washington. This same VisionLink software is being used to case manage over 100,000 Katrina evacuees, and is HIPAA and HMIS compliant.

A CTC VISTA will contribute to these programs in the following ways:

I. TCFN (The Columbia Free-Net) Web Developer: Develop mini web pages for non-profits and commercial entities through-out eastern Washington and link to the 4People on-line database of resources in each of the 19 counties.

II. 4People.org Online Database Developer: Develop a promotional plan to increase the usage of this resource database. Increase the number of agencies using the Case Management module to effectively communicate community client needs.

1. Develop competency in the Tapestry/VisionLink Resource and Case Management database in order to provide support and training to agencies.

2. Develop community relations to promote 4People and RECA Foundation programs.

3. Identify and mobilize agencies in eastern Washington to use the 4People database.

4. Work with Columbia Basin College to develop a comprehensive public relations campaign for both 4People and RECA Foundation.

5. Develop a comprehensive online manual for agencies to use 4People.

6. Maintain accurate records and provide required reports for program accountability purposes.

7. Create newsletters and promotional materials.

8. Assist with writing grants.

Project Outcome: 

Marilyn Taylor is responsible for developing a comprehensive grassroots database of resources in each county in Washington State. She has successfully updated quick County listings, printable directories, Shelter Vacancies, Reentry Resources and Housing Inventories. Marilyn Taylor has also worked with a number of agencies training them on the case management system, and has compiled database reports using Crystal Reports.

The re-design of 4People in 2007 resulted in increased views of services and has subsequently reduced homelessness, reduced recidivism, and helped people out of poverty. Over 314,000 views of resources were recorded in 2007. She has updated websites to increase Googleability. She has staffed booths for 4People at fairs and conferences, promoted the use of the database, and consistently provided accurate and timely information to help people out of poverty. Marilyn has assisted with numerous grants, and assisted volunteers, Goodwill and AARP workers with accurate updating of information. 4People has increased coverage of Information and Referral resources from 19 counties to all 39 Washington State counties.

Impact Quote: 

We get emails from people, or even a phone call thanking us for providing information online quickly. Only on 4People can people that are homeless find the resources they need. Marilyn has been directly responsible for the upkeep, development, and accuracy of all information. She has provided reports showing activities and demographics, and worked one on one to help people use the case management system. She has been indispensable to 4People.”
- Ronda Evans, supervisor

Article on the Importance of Radio in Disaster Situations

Prometheus Radio Project

An article on the importance of Community Radio Recovery in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake by corps member Brandy Doyle demonstrates the importance of having community radio in the United States.

New Orleans Neighborhoods Partnership Network

New Orleans, LA

The Neighborhoods Partnership Network (NPN) is a nonprofit, 501c3 organization consisting of a citywide network of neighborhoods that was established after the Hurricane Katrina disaster to facilitate neighborhood collaboration, increase access to government and information, and strengthen the voices of individuals and communities across New Orleans.

The disasters revealed significant weakness in many structures Americans took for granted – physical structures such levees & hospitals, but also governing and social structures from FEMA to state and local entities. Citizens have had to become their own “first responders” – from rescuing their neighbors to rescuing their neighborhoods. NPN is one such organization born from both the failures and opportunities the catastrophe has provided.

NPN realized that a need existed for a citywide framework to assist communities in maximizing the use of limited resources and information while providing connections to other communities that have similar obstacles so that communities can avoid duplicating efforts and work toward shared goals. The infrastructure of this organization answers New Orleanians’ desires to be involved in the formal decision-making processes that impact quality of life issues for citizens and neighborhoods.

NPN’s mission is to improve the quality of life by engaging New Orleanians in neighborhood revitalization and civic processes. NPN consists of a board of community leaders reflective of neighborhoods throughout the city and a diverse staff immersed in coalition building, public and government relations. NPN envisions a New Orleans where all neighborhoods are great places to live.

Transmission Project