Public service organizations create and maintain many different community resource directories. Each organization applies similar resources and effort against a shared issue, but there is no shared knowledge. Although they share similar goals and challenges, these efforts work in isolation of each other. Often, this responsibility will fall to a single non-technical employee with limited resources.
Individuals seeking help are left to navigate confusing lists of resources that may or may not lead them to what they need, and may or may not be current or even accurate. Social workers and other intermediaries must master multiple lists of competing information, making it difficult to connect their clients to the relevant help. Community development initiatives, both government and non-profit, are left paying for new research to inventory and understand the state of their community resources.
This is an unnecessarily inefficient and wasteful system. The act of seeking help becomes a burden on the help-seeker, who is often seeking public services because of an urgent need. Instead of helping it’s most needful citizens, government is burdening them with unnecessary hardship. The current system also creates an unnecessary burden on public service workers in government, who must spend large amounts of time on unsatisfying paperwork and phone campaigns to obtain and verify information, instead of serving their help-seeking clients. Often, this responsibility will fall to a single, non-technical employee with limited resources.
The current system wastes government money. By taking so much time with these internal processes, while limiting the number of people it helps and lengthening the amount of time it takes to serve them. It inflates the cost of providing social services.
There is also the cost to help seekers: lost hours at work, repeat visits, increased costs in childcare, etc. which in turn puts more pressure on the current system. Staff members are rushed and uninvested and it can leave help-seekers feeling like cattle. A dehumanizing experience for both service provider and help seeker.