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York Hospital, YCSA convene Social Services Summit

From Seacoast Online

YORK, Maine — A group of nearly 30 social services providers from southern York County met on Monday, Aug. 5 at the York River Landing to discuss collaborative efforts to strengthen “wraparound” care for the underserved in our community.

After hearing from representatives from the York Hospital Health Care Help Center, a comprehensive suite of services designed to help patients navigate financial, insurance, prescription and social issues surrounding their medical care, each summit attendee had the opportunity to share information about their services, needs and most pressing concerns.

While York County ranks in the top three Maine counties for per capita income, Meaghan Arzberger of York County Community Action Corporation shared that “more than 50% of the people we serve are well below the poverty line. Housing is the biggest challenge — there is an infinite need for safe and affordable housing.”

Representatives from York Housing, Fair Tide, and York Community Service Association agreed that more needs to be done to incentivize landlords to join forces to combat homelessness and the current housing shortage.

Other needs shared by summit attendees included more mental health services for all ages; access to high-quality, low-cost childcare; expanding access to medication-assisted treatment for opiate use disorder and substance misuse; and alleviating food insecurity and loneliness among seniors.

Estelle Margarones, Minister at First Parish Church in York, added that the faith community regularly springs into action when a person is identified as being in need of assistance. E-mails go out to churchgoers and community members with requests for specific needs — such as household items, financial assistance, lodging, or transportation.

“Faith is oftentimes the rock that you stand on when the rest of your world is shattered by the loss of a job, illness, divorce or homelessness,” said Rev. Margarones, “I am humbled and proud to be part of the good work being done by numerous agencies in and beyond York”.

York Hospital has a webpage that provides a snapshot summary of local social service providers with links to each website: https://www.yorkhospital.com/support-groups/. If your organization provides direct assistance to the underserved in southern York County and you would like to be included on this webpage, please contact Sally Manninen at the Choose To Be Healthy Coalition: smanninen@yorkhospital.com.

Special thanks to the Maine Health Access Foundation for supporting this effort to strengthen social services and wraparound care for those most in need throughout our community.

Photo: Michelle Surdoval of York Community Service Association, Sally Manninen of Choose to Be Healthy Coalition, Meaghan Arzberger of York County Community Action Corporation, and Emily Flinkstrom of Fair Tide.

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