I loved the drawing of Home of Heroes that depicted first responders, nurses, doctors etc. that was in the paper. I just wanted to write and tell you about a dedicated group of people that you missed.
The Department of Human Services. We are still on the job with quite a bit of the staff still working in our buildings.
We have caseworkers who are working from home, but still must make daily visits to homes to ensure children are safe.
We have case aides who are facilitating visits between parents and children who have been placed out of the home.
We have commodities that are making sure that our most vulnerable population still has food to eat.
Since commodities are mostly distributed by senior volunteers, this program really suffered a loss when the seniors could no longer help. Employees from our divisions have volunteered to take their place so food is still being given.
We have the family service division. I am proud to say I am one of the supervisors in this Division. Our dynamic administrator Karen, my fellow supervisors Consuela, Gina, Tracy and our lead worker Deanna, are all privileged to be able to work with our dedicated staff.
We have our eligibility technicians making sure that Pueblo citizens are still able to access and apply for cash, food and medical programs.
We have case managers who have in two days completed a refresher course on procedures and rules so they could help process our disaster diversion program. This program helps people who have been laid off or fired from their jobs due to COVID-19.
Payments help ensure that these individuals can pay their rent, utilities or car payments until their unemployment or stimulus checks are received. It allows families to meet their needs during these precarious times.
We have case managers who are taking on extra cases, so those disaster payments can be made. They are returning phone calls, issuing supportive services and reassuring their customers that we are still there to help.
We have staff who due to medical reasons or unavailability of childcare can’t come to work. But they are still working from home with their own cells phone and no computers.
They are calling customers to make sure their needs are being met. They are taking notes and making plans with customers all on notebook paper. They know that they will need entered all that information into the computers when they return.
We have day care staff who are reassuring both providers and customers that their child care will remain in place while they go to work.
We have IT and DP staff who must move our computers and phones and reimage profiles so we can work. They also are responding and troubleshooting issues for those workers who are remotely working.
We a have the hardworking front desk staff who are still taking applications, answering questions in person and on the phone, while keeping social distances.
We have administrative staff who provide back up for the front desk and they answer questions and complaints from our customers. They also arrange meetings making sure everyone is spaced at least six feet from each other.
We have our tireless maintenance and janitorial staff who are at work each day keeping us safe. They travel from county building to county building, including the jail, cleaning and disinfecting handrails, doorknobs and every surface we encounter. The do this several times a day, in addition to their regular work.
We have the assistance payments division working its adult and family programs with its staff and supervisors.
We have our deputy directors, director and county commissioners, who are all working long hard hours to ensure our safety while responding to our customer’s needs.
I know our community partners like Catholic Charities, Cooperative Care, Posada and YWCA also are working to make sure that people who need help can access services.
I know I have forgotten some staff or community agencies and I apologize for that. I just wanted to acknowledge this dedicated, conscientious staff.
We are anxious and stressed and worried about each other and our families. We cry together and sometimes we cry alone, but we always support each other.
Every day we get up and go to work because we believe the work we do makes a difference in our community just like the other heroes of Pueblo.
Valerie Scott has worked for the Pueblo County Department of Human Services for 25 years. She is married and has two children.