Mayor's Corner: Human Services Department Is A Testament To The Spirit Of Lakewood

The City of Lakewood provides many highly visible services to our residents, from the public works department who are always out and about improving and maintaining things to our police and fire department who patrol our streets and respond to emergencies in vehicles and uniforms we all readily observe. One department that can fly under the radar but also provides a major benefit for the people of Lakewood is our Human Services Department.

In Lakewood, we are proud that our concept of providing services also extends to the deep and important work done by our Human Services Department. That includes work at Cove Community Center and in homes across the city. Human Services Director Chad Berry and his team provide an impressive breadth of support to our seniors, youth, families in need, and those living on the edge and facing crisis.

On any day at Cove, you might find a social gathering for Lakewood residents (everything from a Leap Year Dance Party to Breakfast with a Bunny); a financial literacy class; or the Human Services team figuring out an emergency plan for a resident whose heat went out or who lacks air conditioning on a sweltering day. That is just the tip of the iceberg, and it would be impossible to list all their efforts and impact in a single column.

In 2023 alone, an average of 150 community members came through the doors of Cove Community Center daily to participate in activities and programming. Seniors and family room participants checked in to our Human Services programs close to 29,000 times. Nearly 19,000 home meals were delivered, and over 12,800 congregate meals were served. The work of the Human Services department is a testament to the spirit of Lakewood and how deeply we care for and lift each other up.

I also want to highlight the efforts that Director Berry and his team make to successfully apply for outside dollars to support our work.  In 2023, they obtained funds from NOACA (Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency) that paid for over 80% of the cost of a new senior services transportation van and were also able to increase one of our county grants by over $125,000. This year, Human Services has already secured a $45,000 grant from the Healthy Aging Grants program, a state program designed to help provide funds to services aimed at increasing the quality of life for seniors. This consistent work to find additional dollars is a huge help to our quality of services and is critical in limiting costs for our taxpayers.

If you want to learn more about our Human Services Department and all it has to offer, please visit https://www.lakewoodoh.gov/human-services/ or contact the Human Services team directly at 216-529-5061 or HumanServices@lakewoodoh.net.

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Volume 20, Issue 11, Posted 12:51 PM, 06.05.2024