Resource Navigation

As a bridge between service providers and participant communities, Resource Navigators link community members to the local landscape of service providers to improve their access to housing and other resources. However, their role is not solely referring.  Rather, this position is also tasked with the responsibility to listen, advocate, and act on behalf of the communities that they support. In this way,  Navigators are active in the systems individuals are navigating, changing the service provider landscape as much as they are using it to support participants.

In Douglas County

Two critical and key elements of this program are (1) care coordination and collaboration; and (2) actively removing systemic barriers to access by going beyond a transactional relationship towards a transformative partnership. This AmeriCorps member led program addresses the adaptive challenges of a siloed human service landscape of service provision with embedded barriers to access for those who experience the most systemic marginalization. Douglas County's Community Resource Navigators are Library partners, United Way staff and AmeriCorps Kansas members, not volunteers. These navigators work within systems to truly advocate for and serve participants in a partnership towards their holistic success and empowerment. Through advocacy and access, this program advances social justice and liberation.

If you have questions about any component of the Navigator program in Douglas County, please contact Kathy Smith.

Kansas Volunteer Commission/AmeriCorps Logo

Community Resource Navigators in Douglas County:

Laura Smith - Eudora Community Resource Navigator - serving Douglas County

Marc Veloz - Lawrence Public Library - Community Resource Specialist 

In Shawnee County

The Community Navigator volunteer led program trains and embeds volunteers with partner agencies to provide front-line client support. Volunteers focus on the early phase of applying for assistance, helping clients prepare paperwork and gather documentation, and providing them access to community resources that might benefit and/or support their needs. Navigators build the capacity of our non-profit partners by making sure clients are well prepared when they meet with program staff, reducing the need for return visits to address missing documentation. The Community Navigator Program also creates a pathway to engage more volunteers while providing critical support to individuals and families and expanding agency capacity.

As we have seen over the past few years, those most in need don’t always have access to the technology needed to gather necessary documentation and complete the paperwork required to qualify for city- or state-level programs. Similarly, nonprofits are dealing with ongoing staffing shortages and increased caseloads. The Community Navigator Program fills this gap, helping those most in need to have a successful initial meeting when seeking services and freeing up program staff from routine pre-work.

If you have questions about any component of the GROW program, please contact Jess Barraclough.