Later this week, we will open an RFP to help meet the basic needs of families through resource brokering. If this describes your work, stay tuned to the blog this Thursday, 10/19! Read on to learn what we mean by resource brokering and the importance of meeting basic needs for families.
Sara encountered numerous challenges during her pregnancy. Struggling to make ends meet especially after recently losing her job, Sara was evicted from her home. When her husband decided he did not want the baby, she found herself with less support than expected. As a woman of color, she and her baby already faced greater health risks.
Many King County families experience barriers similar to Sara. She recalls being unable to afford basic items for her baby, worried about how she would provide for her daughter.
The need for basic resources is often described as basic needs: the things that young children and their families need to support healthy growth and development such as diapers, cribs, car seats, formula, clothing, etc. Meeting basic needs can improve both family and child outcomes, for many reasons, including reducing stress.
Fortunately Sara found support in Open Arms. Her doula, Deziree, listened to her needs and provided her with basic resources for her baby.
Kate Silvette, Open Arms Manager for the Birth Doula Program, shared that the most common resource request they hear is for baby items. Not only are certain items quite expensive, but babies quickly outgrow clothing and go through a high volume of diapers and wipes.
Deziree helped provide Sara a number of baby items, including a car seat–a meaningful and time sensitive donation as car seats are required to leave a hospital with a newborn.
Some of the items that Sara received were community donations given directly to Open Arms. However, the majority of items that Open Arms gives their clients are provided by a partner organization. The partner organization secures basic items and fulfills requests made by nonprofits who hold personal relationships with families who need the items. It looks something like this:
As Deziree, Sara’s doula, shared,
We really worked together to make sure that Sara got her needs met. Not only is it things that she really physically needs for the baby..but it helped ease her mind.
Kate has seen many interactions between staff and clients when basic needs are met. In their words,
I’m happy to be able to fill a need. Most of the time, the look that I see on someone’s face is relief. We do the coordinating and they don’t have to worry about it or the cost. It removes a lot of pressure and stress.
Kate expressed a lot of gratitude for their resource broker community partner. They believe it would be practically impossible to meet client needs without the relationship they have with the resource broker partner. In their experience, finding a consistent provision of safe car seats, let alone other in kind donations, is incredibly difficult. So Kate relies on the expertise and capacity of their resource broker partner and considers their role as the “in between person” much easier with reliable basic needs support.
As wonderful as it is to meet someone’s resource needs, there often is more need than there is supply. If a car seat is requested from the resource broker and not available, it can take weeks to submit a new request and wait for new donations to arrive to meet the need. This is especially stressful with a looming delivery date!
To help ensure that basic needs are met for all families in King County, Best Starts for Kids will strengthen the capacity of organizations who provide basics needs on a large scale. Such organizations serve as “resource brokers” by securing resources through established relationships that result in public and private partnerships and manufacturer bulk buys. By maintaining a large inventory of basic needs items, resource brokers may function as distribution centers for community-based organizations that work directly with children and families.
Save the Date and stay tuned to the blog for the Basic Needs RFP to open this Thursday!
Click HERE to see the open RFP!