Conn. city officials form 'Community Action Team' to pool resources

The team will meet twice a month to discuss how to streamline the town's services to aid those who are in need

By Stephanie Menders
Norwich Bulletin

GRISWOLD, Conn. — Whether responding to a senior citizen who has requested assistance or a young child in need of medical attention, first responders in town are often called to the same home multiple times, Griswold First Selectman Todd Babbitt said.

With the hopes to address that trend, town officials may soon be forming a Community Action Team set on pooling resources to better serve residents.

The team, which will preliminarily consist of the town's fire chiefs, representatives from American Ambulance and the senior center, will meet twice a month to discuss how to streamline the town's services to aid those who are in need.

"First responders frequently respond to calls for social services. So the emergency responders may know of people who need some sort of services or resources," Babbitt, a former fire chief, said. "This team could help connect those people with the services they need. It's about getting everybody to work together and communicate."

Griswold Senior Center Director Tina Falck, who is leading the formation of the team, said the need is greater than ever before. Social services for the town are based out of the senior center, and Falck said families have been pouring in recently.

"It's not just elderly, it's young families, single mothers and more homeless then I've ever seen," she said. "They're looking for help with food or heat or shelter. We're just trying to become more aware of who these individuals are and how to help them."

Although the group may start with just a few representatives, Falck said she is hopeful it will grow to include local healthcare and youth services personnel.

The senior center director said she was inspired by a similar group that regularly meets at the Norwich Department of Human Services.

"They focus a lot on people who are homeless. A lot of what they address is similar to what our town is facing. It is just on a little bit of a larger scale," she said. "And sometimes it may even be the same individuals. Sometimes people move from Norwich to our area, and vice versa."

Babbitt said the group is hoping to begin meeting in early February.

Copyright 2018 Norwich Bulletin

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