The program will now focus on “wrap-around services” that follow clients “from beginning to end” in order to “demonstrate that (we) are effectively moving people out of poverty,” Fremont County CSBG director Douglas Spriggs said.
The change is set to take effect in October.
The process that led to the upcoming change began in 2017, when Spriggs said the Independence Alliance – at that time called the Fremont County Action Committee – began studying local data to see if the CSBG program was “serving the community.”
The data showed that Fremont County offered “a lot of emergency services,” Spriggs said – but the numbers did not “prove that we were actually bringing people out of poverty.”
So, during a strategic planning process that began in 2020, the committee decided to change its mission, from ensuring CSBG funds were “wisely spent on needed services,” to providing people “with the opportunity to achieve economic self-sufficiency,” Spriggs said.
He called it a “major switch.”
“It’s a transition to be able to help the community at a higher level (through) the provision of case management resources as well as connections to community services,” he said.
No more sub-grants
As a result of the change, Spriggs said the Independence Alliance will no longer distribute CSBG funds to local sub-grantees like Almost Home Wyoming, the First Stop Help Center, Eagles Hope Transitions, the Fremont County Alliance Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, the Fremont County Group Homes, the Riverton Help Center, and Injury Prevention Resources.
Instead, the money will go toward case management services, which will be provided at 205 S. Broadway in Riverton – and at locations throughout Fremont County.
“Our case managers, switching to this model, will be able (to) travel to all reaches of Fremont County,” Spriggs said. “(We’re) not relying on subgrantee organizations that are stationed in Lander and Riverton to serve Dubois. … It makes it much more fluid.”
The new case managers will still refer clients to former CSBG sub-grantees, Spriggs noted, calling those organizations “integral” to the community.
Some of the groups have expressed concern about the loss of funding they’ll experience due to the CSBG program change, however, and Spriggs said the Independence Alliance has “done our best to work with them on how to potentially make up those funds and find other ways and means.”
He encouraged local residents to “step up” and support the nonprofits as well.
“Our organizations … are going to need more from one another, and from our community,” he said. “We need (to) create a community of, not only philanthropy, but care.”
Fremont County is set to receive almost $380,000 in CSBG funding for fiscal year 2023-2024, Spriggs said – down about $20,000 from the year before.